Farmer Focus: Feast for a bumper harvest

It’s happened again. It always seems to be when I’m given a microphone to hold. I was supposed to be hosting the dog show, but ended up singing.

Apologies to anyone who heard me at Monmouthshire Show – I think it must be a nerves thing. Huge thanks to the show committee for inviting us back each year, it is a fantastic event.

We finished combining the spring oats at the beginning of this month, with the oats yielding much better than our winter wheat. Historically it seems our farm favours spring corn over winter corn.

With the barns already bursting with hay and straw, we decided to wrap the oat straw, so we’ll see how that pans out. Only the maize and some second cut to be “safely gathered in, ‘ere the winter storms begin”.

At present we haven’t got a vicar, so this year’s harvest festival is going to be all hands on deck at our local church, usually held on the Sunday closest to the harvest moon.

This is the full moon that helps the harvest by providing more light at the right time than other full moons do. It’s an early harvest (super) moon this year on 9 September (just after I sent this article in).

Hopefully we’ll have a good one, as this year’s harvest has been a cracker.

The kids are back at school (reluctantly), I’m back teaching at college (sort of reluctantly, but at least I get a break there) and there’s a nip in the air.

The tups are in with the first bunch of ewes which means, all being well, we’ll start lambing on 1 February. We bought in some Welsh Mule yearlings to replenish stock, alongside our ewe lambs picked out last month.

I just got back from our local ploughing match and am very happy with a first prize for best bale of hay and third prize in the sample of big bale silage.

Achieving first, second and third prize with our swedes could indicate how well our direct drilling worked this year, but on the other hand, we were the only swede entrants.

Kate Beavan farms 200ha alongside her husband Jim on one of two family farms near Abergavenny, Monmouthshire. The main enterprise comprises of 900 breeding ewes and 50 suckler cows. Meat is sold direct to the family’s traditional butchers shop. Kate and Jim hosted the first series of Lambing Live in 2010

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