Farmer Focus Livestock: Tim Downes feels the heat

We have our own sauna, with temperatures measuring 38.5C in the dairy at the start of July.

The heat encourages the grazed paddocks to bolt to seed and to prevent this and improve feed quality we are mowing grass in front of cows. This allows re-growth to start up to four days earlier and raises intakes. However, water availability must be sufficient.

Simon has been busy selectively topping any thistle patches around the youngstock and beef grazing areas.

I attended an excellent OMSCo discussion group day where new members from DFoB joined us to learn about soil structure and nutrient balancing.

A target of 24 earthworms in a normal size spade sod was set and we are planning to compare soil analyses at future meetings. At this time of year the paddocks are awash with clover and the Shropshire weather has suited legumes.

I am writing this with some trepidation, should I mention next weeks TB test or not.

The season has suited the pea and barley wholecrop with 35 acres up to waist height and being under-sown with a grass ley that is enjoying protection from the blazing sun and hopefully not being smothered.

It was interesting to learn about bank voles and field mice at Open Farm Sunday when Gill and Cherry from OMSCo revealed some they had trapped. This had Andy and Patrick intrigued.

We attended two agricultural shows recently; The Lincolnshire Show bathed in sunshine, which pushed the attendance up by 20%. The same will have been true for a buzzing West Midlands Show. If the health of an event and its future pulse is taken by the quality of the Young Farmers’ floats, then both shows are in good heart.

Apparently a £250,000 Quadtrac with 15-furrow plough used to be purchased using HP finance, but now could invole MP finance.

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