Farmer Focus: Tough to say goodbye to amazing student

Harvest has been and, rather luckily, it has now left.

Yields, as expected, were pretty unremarkable, but we have cleared all the ground.

Our harvest student Patrick has been pretty much stuck on the Vaderstad Topdown for weeks and now we are all cultivated up to date and awaiting the signal to start drilling.

We have some grass-for-seed going in at the moment for Germinal.

It’s a first for us, so we are very excited to see how we get on with incorporating it within our rotation. And if anyone out there has a stripper header for sale please get in touch.

See also: Guide to growing grass seed for mixed farmers

In other sad news our amazing Harper Adams student James is leaving to do his final year at university.

He has promised to come back, but until he does, the farm is going to be a much worse place without him here.

The sheep have never looked better in terms of body condition on the ewes or lamb growth rates.

We have never had lambs so far forward. It’s incredibly impressive, especially with the drought in the spring/early summer.

I can only hope between Hannah (our new student) and myself we can keep it all together until he gets back.

We are keeping back another 650 ewe lambs this year to raise overall sheep numbers to just under 2,500. 

DNA samples went across to New Zealand from the recorded flock, so any time now we should have the SIL (Sheep Improvement Limited) figures for this year’s ram lambs.

This should mean we are able to get rid of most of them and keep 100 or so back to test over the commercial flock. Cull ewe prices remain good so we took the opportunity to get rid of 200 older/thinner ewes.

The data should also mean we can pick the best 500 ewes to carry on recording.

We are back-fat scanning and measuring eye muscle area to make sure we can target the Myomax gene on those bloodlines that are already “meaty” to focus on.

Our thinking is there’s no point achieving a 10% increase in a poor value.

Read Rob and Jo’s biography