Farmer Focus: Waiting to see how the silage will fare

The bulls have been MOTd and semen sampled last week and all passed ready to go out on 1 July. Typically, one is looking a little lame just when you need them to be right.

On 25 June we finished the first cut silage of 250 acres of red and white clover with high sugar grasses.

The yield has been surprisingly OK. I was worried that, given the weather and that the grasses had gone to seed, the yield would be poor, but the clovers have rescued the job. 

The high dry matter has helped the quality considerably. Typically, the much-needed rain came during the middle of silage, and probably for the first time in my life I was reasonably relaxed about it possibly spoiling the silage, as we needed it for the grass seeds, but sadly one day of rain was not enough.

See also: Opinion: Poor silage quality is taking its toll on cattle and owners

We had our organic inspection last week and the timing couldn’t have been better for me, as I genuinely couldn’t be there because I was on the pit. My wife Claire drew the short straw. 

Our second flock arrived on 11 June and they look good and are growing well. Hopefully, by the time this gets read, we will have eggs.

This will sadly be my final Farmer Focus report. We have been writing these updates for almost three years and quite a lot has happened. 

We have diversified into laying hens, got planning permission for a holiday cottage, submitted planning for another two ventures, taken on a new shepherd, an apprentice and staff for the hens to add to the team.

I have personally ranted about a number of issues such as BVD, sheep scab and last, but not least, Brexit. 

We’ve gone through flood, drought, wind, snow, feast and famine and then occasionally you look up from the hard slog and see that it’s a perfect weather day, the jobs are relatively up to date, nothing dramatic has happened and you remember – farming is a great life.

We have enjoyed our time writing about what’s been happening here and rest assured I will continue to tweet about the comings and goings at @Bainbridgefarms.