Thanks to the contractors for all their hard work

After moaning about the weather last month, we did manage to get our silage done at the home farm at Greenwell, and we even made a good lot of hay.


It was a heavy crop, and considering the year, I think it will be good stuff. But due to the massive demands on the contractors, we were unable to clear the prison silage; that had to wait until this week, when we finally cleared our first-cut on 10 August. I think that is a record for us, even on Dartmoor.


My brother, who manages the Prison Farm, returned from his family holiday two days later. I hope his ears were burning as James, Kyle and Chris, the lads who work for me, were cursing him up and down while sealing down his two large silage pits, getting soaked in dirty tyre water in the process.


This harvest has been a real headache for everyone, but although we all curse them at times, I really feel for the contractors. They have had a thankless task, not to mention the never-ending phone calls. I am sure plenty of them have considered putting the phone through the forager just to get five minutes’ peace. Thank you, contractors, and let’s hope the year improves for all our sakes.


Our Mule hoggs at Exeter were ¬£20 down on last year; let’s hope trade for Mule ewe lambs at Tavistock early next month is stronger as our lambs are looking good for the sale.



Mathew Cole, his brother Neil and parents Arnold and Bridget, farm 1,800 acres on and around Dartmoor. They keep South Devon and Galloway suckler cows as well as Scotch and Swale ewes on the hills with mule lambs bred to sell. They also have pedigree flocks of Bluefaced Leicester and Whiteface Dartmoor ewes.


Read more articles from Mathew Cole


Read more from our other livestock farmer focus writers

See more