We have now finished planting potatoes at last, but weed control is proving a big problem. The ground is too wet to use the gas burner and the tined weeder is bringing up wet soil and that’s not good.
Bank Holidays have caused havoc in getting tractors repaired – it seems the Germans have them too – and we have had three tractors broken down for almost three weeks. This has driven us to buying a new one with a warranty package of 5,000 hours/five years, but going by the price of this tractor, the deal should be buy one, get one free. By the time we return from eating with about 2,000 other people at a resort in Turkey, the tractors will be ready to go – that will allow us to drill fodder crops, spin on clover and sow grass seeds into standing wheat.
The fields shut up for silage are doing well and the first cut will clash with clipping, but all this extra money from the wool clip might pay for some extra help. After having the vet out to look at some lambs that weren’t thriving, samples were taken and nothing was found but five days later huge numbers of nematodiris where found. They have all been wormed now and just require some sunny hot weather. After all the problems last year with infected ears in lambs due to tagging, we are delaying as much tagging as possible until the autumn, which is not ideal if we need to move ewes and lambs from farm to farm.
Charlie Armstrong farms 1,011ha (2,500 acres) with his wife Jane and parents Charlie and Sylvia at North Charlton, Alnwick, Northumberland. Livestock consists of 1,200 finishing cattle and 10,000 ewes.