Charlie Armstrong has to admire the resilience of the thistles

At last we have had some rain which saved the rape and turnips and also drowned the majority of flee beetles. Rightly or wrongly, we are now direct drilling some rape into old grass swards that have been eaten to death by ewe hoggs.

Once again thistles have proved to be drought tolerant and as a result the entire farm has been topped. The silage fields were looking poor, but the recent rain has started to bulk them up, two bags of 34.5% nitrogen would make a big difference if only it was organic.

The organic lamb price now seems to be the same as conventional, which happened last year so I can see us selling lightweight lambs to relieve grazing pressure.

Lamb creeps have been abandoned as it proved impossible to keep birds away from them, and I can’t get them registered as organic no matter how much organic feed they eat.

A small group of local farmers, me included, recently had a trip to Ireland. Their use of every blade of grass was amazing, and I am sure they don’t realise how lucky they are to have the Teagasc research centre there.

One interesting thing was a sward lifter it trialled. Its results would disappoint anyone who has bought one recently. Had ADAS still been in full swing it could have had independent trial results for purchasers to look at. All is not lost though, as they make good weight blocks for rolling silage clamps – apparently.

Well done to the NSA for putting on a super event near Hexham. Anyone struggling to understand EID equipment would come away bleary eyed as there was loads on offer. This equipment is getting better day by day. The only thing that wasn’t on offer was tags that will stay in 100%, as per European rules. This I assume will mean every sheep farmer will be breaking the law sooner or later – in my opinion, the only thing that stays in forever is a lug mark.

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