Farmer Focus: Life is getting sweeter with new farm beehives

Life on the farm at Belvoir is about to get a whole lot sweeter with the arrival of our very first beehives. Special thanks must go to Donya from Peacock Farm next door for bringing us a swarm and generally helping us to get going.

Like most things in life, it’s certainly not as easy as it looks. Who even knew you could get such a thing as an anti-wasp back door?

The hives have been placed next to one of our pollen and nectar areas so, hopefully, the bees’ dietary needs will be well taken care of.

About the author

Keith Challen
Arable Farmer Focus writer
Keith Challen manages 1,200ha of heavy clay soils in the Vale of Belvoir, Leicestershire, for Belvoir Farming Company. Cropping includes wheat, oilseed rape and elderflowers. The farm is also home to the Belvoir Fruit Farms drinks business.
Read more articles by Keith Challen

See also: How a Cornish grower keeps wheat diseases at bay

The elderflower harvest has just started and if the hawthorn blossom is anything to go by, we should be in for a good harvest.

The too wet to too dry weather has put the elders 10 days behind where they would usually be. However, that can soon be forgiven if we get bumper yields. Don’t forget, if you want to earn a little extra cash, give us a call and come and pick some flowers for us.

Over the past 10 years, I have felt we made steady progress in eradicating blackgrass from the farm.

However, after not getting any winter cereals drilled in autumn 2019, I wasn’t about to get caught out in 2020. So, we drilled some of the cleaner ground – or what I thought was cleaner – just a little earlier and even then we didn’t get finished due to early-October heavy rain.

Well, what a disaster! We have more blackgrass than ever, the farm looks scruffy, and even November-drilled light land has too much.

I’m not sure what the answer is, but we have the Garford band sprayer in the workshop and it is about to be transformed into a hoe steered by an infra-red camera.

I don’t think blackgrass is resistant to steel. This, in turn, is being matched up to a new, super-lightweight tine drill we’ve built for late drilling so, hopefully, we can get back to making progress rather than making a depressing mess.

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