November on the farm.

Richard Fonge writes:

This years harvest, turned out to be far better than expected. After such a wet, cold spring, and a long hot summer. Whilst some of the spring sown crops suffered from late sowing and the long hot summer those sown in the autumn favoured much better, with the slight drop in yield offset by an increase in price per tonne and no costs for drying the grain. Wheat, Barley etc has to be below 14% dry matter for storage and selling. Oilseed rape 8%. This year the long summer days did the drying, whereas in more normal years you are harvesting between dry and wet spells, and although the grain is ripe it often has to be cut before the next spell of rain. Hence the higher moisture content.

Autumn sowing has now finished in conditions that could not have been bettered due to a lovely stretch of weather. The concrete road has O.S.R to the bridge and winter wheat after that. Barrow hill wheat after the beans, and a cover crop of mustard in the field before that. Remember the reason for the mustard from last year?

The cattle we have seen in various fields up the Weston road and around the village have now been housed and most will be finished for slaughter by the spring. Next spring we will see a fresh lot of young cattle in these same fields, and so the rich cycle of life goes on.

But where do these young animals come from? There are many breeds of beef cattle, but two different sources. Firstly by breeding from a beef cow who will rear her own calf to the age of eight to nine months. This is known as single suckling. The calf is then reared on to be finished for prime beef. Secondly from the dairy herds of the country. A good 50% of dairy cows are put to a beef sire through A.I. and these calves are then reared for beef along with the pure bred male calves. In these days of specialisation the calves are sold on at various ages to beef farmers and that is how we come to see them grazing in the fields in our parish. Agriculture is a diverse and inter dependent industry serving us all.

Richard Fonge



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