Farmer Focus: Rain and eggs come thick and fast

Last month it was too dry. Now the weather has become really unsettled and it is hampering our harvesting plans. 

However, rain has been badly needed for our drilled grassland and root crops. Lambs are once again gaining weight after not having much to eat in July.

We finally got a day to chop our barley whole crop (no grass this year). The rain held off until we sheeted the pit.

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Having only barley has made it drier and more difficult to compact and we aren’t able to seal the top with grass as the lambs got turned into it. I found the crop was shorter than normal.

Busy hens

Our hens have started laying.  It is surprising how quickly numbers increase day on day. 

The packing machine has been installed and our shedbuilders have been back to fit a small partition to meet new bio security measures. It is a new routine for us to get used to but so far the hens seem to be doing well.

Show shenanigans 

Of course, we have also had our annual visit to the Royal Welsh Show, although it was a little different this year with the added responsibility of the hens. 

We are lucky to have the support of great friends and fantastic part-time staff to keep an eye on things when we are away. I also got roped into competing for the David Davies Hunt in the inter hunt relay competition – something I don’t think I have done for at least 10 years. 

We had only a week’s notice to prepare and both myself and the horse were a little unfit. We had a great round but were beaten by last year’s winners and this year’s winners, Flint and Denbigh – well done to them! 

It was an enjoyable afternoon even though I was sore and stiff for a couple of days after.

The boys absolutely love looking at the machinery (apparently we need all sorts of things!), and of course this years highlight was seeing The Grassmen in the flesh.

We caught up with Martin Waite of the AMC; it was the first time we have met since our birds have arrived. As always, Martin was very supportive, listened and had good advice. He also managed to get our boys to sit still for more than a minute!. 

We also met with our generator suppliers. I had only previously spoken to them over the phone and exchanged emails to make the purchase so it was good to meet them face to face.  

I can’t finish without mentioning the sad loss of young farmer James Corfield. I didn’t know James but he only lived a few miles from us.  There has been an overwhelming sadness in the community far and wide. I can only pass on our condolences at this very sad time.

Mark and Helen Williams run 1,000 ewes and 40 suckler cows across 283ha of part owned and rented land.