Farmer Focus: Family Christmas fun with 3,000 trees to plant

The winter sowing door is still ajar at Shimpling Park Farm while we wait for a couple of decent frosts.

We still have three very small fields to sow with our wheat/bean blend that are shaded and so have laid wet. A couple of nights at -4C should do the trick. 

We also have 16ha of our heritage wheat blend to sow, whose intended field is currently being grazed by our ewe lamb replacements.

See also: How Scottish organic OSR growers delivered yields up to 3.1t/ha

The ewe lambs are making short work of an embarrassingly decent crop of charlock as well as some berseem clover, fenugreek and some oilseed rape that we have decided to graze due to flea beetle damage. 

We have another field of organic oilseed rape and this is looking absolutely fantastic.

The only differences between the two crops is that the good crop was rolled post sowing and had some biodigestate applied last year, whereas the other field was not rolled and didn’t receive any form of fertiliser.

Lessons learned this year will hopefully see some more consistent organic oilseed rape crops for harvest 2022.

Agroforestry project

The trees for our agroforestry project arrive this coming week. I suspect that when you eventually read this we will be half way through planting (check my Twitter feed @hanslope).

We are currently crossing fingers for some bright, dry winter days. We’ve got just over 3,000 trees to plant in 20ha.

I am trying to persuade my children – apologies, young adults – to join Alice and I in some pre-Christmas bonding in the 36m alleys that our future timber crop will grow in.

I’ve had no firm commitment from them yet, but I’m sure that a few festive threats will do the trick.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas. Here’s to a better 2021. Cheers!

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