Farm Diary

A PRETTY good week weather wise has enabled us to catch up a bit on the backlog of work waiting to be done. The grass seeding programme has resumed, although it is getting late I think that it is worth taking a calculated risk that the weather will correct itself and there is still a chance of a good 'take'.

There is moisture in the ground and it is certainly warm enough, so we will keep going for a while longer. The biggest problem is that the growth that took place in the last two weeks before we sprayed is proving to be a nuisance, as there is too much of the old pasture in the way for the seed drill. We have had to top the fields, but there is more cut grass than we thought and that is now in the way.

Cows are enjoying the sunshine and the good grazing conditions, although they are all fed at night in order to keep intakes up as I doubt the grass has much value having grown so fast in the wet conditions.

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We have not put on any fertilizer since June, and still we have plenty of grass on the farm. Quite incredible. We have cut another 200 acres of maize last week, and by the time you read this we should be about to bring in the bulk of the maize for the cows, leaving another 200 acres crop that was drilled in early May for another week or ten days.

Yields at Ripley were exceptional, as the sandy ground has had a wonderful growing season with all the rain this summer. We will have to wait and see what the quality is like, but the pundits say that the lack of sunshine will not have mattered; I'm not so sure.

Travelling up and down the country I see that the harvest is almost in, and cultivations are taking place as arable farmers catch up with the autumn workload.

For full feature see West Sussex Gazette October 1