How is it the end of July already? They say time flies when you’re having fun, and we’ve been having lots of fun down on the farm this month!
Open Farm Sunday
June seems like a distant memory, but back in the middle of the month we hosted a Farm Walk, in association with Open Farm Sunday. This was hugely successful with approximately 60 people attending; a combination of beef customers, local residents, friends and family. James gave a fantastic overview of the business enterprise, and then took visitors on a tour of the farm yard followed by some of the farm land. Visitors were lucky enough to see growing crops, environmental stewardship initiatives, grazing cattle, and lots of wildlife. We even spied a couple of lapwing – a bird that James and Robert have been working hard to increase numbers of! Thank you to all of you who came – it was great to see you there.
This month, the silage has been cut and baled ready to feed to the cows this winter. We make grass silage which is grass that is cut, baled, and wrapped in plastic … I’m sure you will have seen these dotted around fields across the country. This process essentially pickles the grass, making a tasty nutritious treat for the cows to enjoy. In total we feed approximately 700 large bales of silage over one winter … that’s a lot of food!
The period of dry weather enabled us to crack on with hay making, and thankfully we got this all finished before the rains came! Dry weather is essential for making good quality hay, as unlike silage, the grass needs to be totally dry before baling so that it doesn’t go mouldy. The hay is made in small bales and left unwrapped (as we want it to stay dry, not pickle itself like silage!). This year we have made approximately 900 small bales which will be primarily sold for horse feed. If you’re interested in seeing videos of the hay making process check out our Facebook page.
Whilst the dry weather has been fantastic for hay making, it has caused difficulties elsewhere on the farm. Many of the streams that the cows drink from have dried up leaving the cows no natural water source. We have, instead, had to use large water bowsers to keep water tanks topped up. Thankfully it is an easily rectifiable problem, just another job to add to the list! Thankfully the cows remain happily grazing the fields and flood plains.
In other livestock news, we have recently sold a couple of breeding bulls which will go off to other herds across the country to spread the fantastic genes of the Northmoor Ruby Reds! One has headed to pastures new in Dorset, and one has gone to the breed’s home land, Devon. We hope they have happy lives with their new owners.
As July progresses attention will turn to the farms arable operations. Combines have started to roll across the Country, and we are carefully keeping an eye of the ripening of the crops here at Rectory Farm. We plant all spring crops which means they are slightly later ripening than those that are planted in the autumn. We are hoping the good weather holds out, enabling us to crack on with combining, and to ensure the crops maintain the best quality characteristics. All being well our barley will go off to become malt that is used in Budweiser beer. Watch this space for the rumbling of combines in Northmoor!
At the beginning of August James is heading off to the Countryfile Live event at Blenheim Palace, where he is taking a cow and calf. He will be located in the Adam Henson Farm area, so make sure you pop by to say hello! He’s even the farm areas poster boy!
All in all, a busy month or two! We look forward to catching up with you all again soon …