Farming in the Blackmore Vale

Voice of a Farmer | September 2021

The first three weeks of August were particularily challenging in getting this years harvest underway. With a considerable lack of sunshine and crops slow to ripen , the weather conditions didn’t help the machinery or the operators. The last week of August has improved conditions with some sunshine and some warmth , but nothing like the one week of heat we had in July. 

Harvesting at Rawston in the seventies – Image By: James Cossins

The yields have a bit variable but I think overall we are having a slightly above average yields especially our winter wheat  and with prices continuing to remain high this has hepled to offset the cost of drying the majority of crops.

The machinery has so far performed well with only a few minor breakdowns which our  machinery dealers were able to rectify promptly. Our next task will be to assemble all the information gained by the combines on the mapped yields showing the variation in performance within fields and  then we can look at how to improve the overall permance of each field.

On the dairy side of our farm we have started calving once again ,so far with not too many issues but it is early days . We are currently using sexed semen on our cows which means that we can virtually quarantee female calves to be born and then retained as replacements for our milking cows .Once we think we have enough female calves the remainder of the cows can produce beef breed calves for our beef enterprise for our farm butchery. We have yet another TB test coming up in September to fingers crossed that we can achieve a clear test after many months of being under movement restrictions.

By JC Photography

Landowners , Farmers and Growers are facing a challenging time trying understand the various schemes DEFRA have put out . They include the Agricultural Transition Plan ,Farming in Protected Landscapes , The Sustainable Farming Incentive Scheme and the Environmental Land Management Scheme, I can see a lot of time is going to be spent in the office going through all this information ,deciding what is right way forward for our farm.It will be a challenging decision for many of us trying to get the balance right on our farms between producing food  and looking after the environment.

By: James Cossins

Sponsored by: Trethowans

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