Giles Henry rents 105ha
(260 acres) on a 10-year
lease and 114ha (280
acres) of heather moorland
near Selkirk in the Scottish
Borders which is in organic
conversion. Cropping is
mainly grass with 14ha (36
acres) of spring barley. The
farm is stocked with 450
breeding ewes, 85 hoggs
and 50 Luing cows with
followers and finishers
JUST when we thought Scotland was going to attain foot-and-mouth Provisional Free status, news came that a producer from one of the Northumberland infected farms had recently visited several farms in the Border area.
These farms have now been placed under Form D restrictions. One step forward, two back, but let us hope nothing further develops and things continue to return to some sort of normality. This event was a timely reminder of how things may develop when restrictions are lifted too quickly.
We reseeded an old grass field in August, and grass has established well, benefiting from warm days interspersed with rain.
Our two fields of barley have ripened well, but it will be mid-September before the combine moves in, so I am hoping the Indian summer, people are talking of, becomes a reality.
We have taken second cut silage, which yielded better than I expected and quality should be good as clover content was tremendous. The pit was well rolled, as I believe this helps quality no end.
I roll the pit as our contractor fills it with a forklift. We roll for a time after filling, but I like to sheet the pit the same day and have all tyres on with every one touching. I then seal sides by draping the sheet over pit walls, nailing on batons and taping the sheet to walls down both face sides. This minimises waste.
We have dug out an area to make a woodchip corral, where we will winter bulling heifers. We already had a concrete pad where we wintered heifers in the past, but they made a mess of the field it was in. So we have dug out an area of about 450sq m (540sq yd) adjacent to the concrete, which we will fill with large woodchips.
The concrete will be used as a feed stance and scraped periodically into a lagoon which we have dug at one end. The estate is providing timber and we will hire a chipper and blow chips directly into excavated area. This will provide a drier lie for cattle and save 4ha (10 acres) from yearly poaching over winter. *