David Maughan farms on two
farms totalling 172ha (425
acres) in Co Durham on the
Raby Estate. The 45ha (112
acres) of grass supports an
18-month beef system and a
silage beef system producing
200 finished animals a year.
Both use purchased Conti-
nental bull and heifer calves
AS April drew to a close it seemed conditions were destined to remain waterlogged for some time. Surprisingly, ground conditions were transformed over one weekend enabling spraying and fertilising on the arable crops to be completed during the first week of May, to great relief all round.
Our local St Johns church held a sunrise service here at 5am on Easter Sunday, given the early hour we expected maybe a dozen hardy souls. In the event, we were delighted when 55 people turned up for a brilliant service in a paddock on the high side of the farm overlooking the mid-Tees valley.
The sun rose on a perfect spring morning as we tucked into our freshly fried bacon butties afterwards.
Not wishing to labour the ecclesiastic theme too much, but we welcomed the Bishop of Durham to St Johns church last Sunday where he devoted a sizeable proportion of his sermon to the concerns surrounding the farming income crisis.
His support is welcome and it was interesting to hear that he had used his local knowledge on the subject to contribute to the House of Lords debate on farming.
The early May grass growth has been tremendous, given that we had to re-house calves during Aprils wet period, it has caused us to plan our early season grazing strategy again and increase silage area. Some of this land is not easy to silage, but better that than undergrazing.
May is a busy month for us; we need to finish the conversion of a free-range poultry house to expand the flock, we also have to make silage and dispose of the current poultry flock before we set about cleaning the house for the next flock. We are hoping for a settled mid-May period to let this all fall into place.
As we take silage cuts from a fair proportion of the poultry area to control grass, we are planning a direct drill reseed in the time available to rejuvenate one particular grass ley. *
Sermon from on high….David Maughans local church held a sunrise service at his farm on Easter Sunday, he was delighted by the attendance.