October on the farm (2023)

Grafton Team Chase 2010

Richard Fonge writes:

October has started with an exceptional warm spell of weather, which will enable the sowing of the winter corn crops to go into good soil conditions.

On the Stuchbury footpath the clover field has been sprayed out and sown with the rest of the field to winter wheat. It has been sown directly into the soil with the only pre-cultivation being what looks like to me with the slits through the earth a sub soiler. This implement breaks up the soil pan and helps with the drainage.

October is really the start of the farming year. When harvest is completed and yields of corn are known, this is the time to assess what to plant for the coming year. Decisions are made on the profitability of a certain crop, rotation and disease primarily. Rams go to the ewes in the autumn, so here again if making a change of either sire or ewe that decision is made then. 20% of the flock of breeding ewes are replaced each year, as a result of death and age.

The maize has now been cut and ensiled. The field by the Magpie junction to be fed to beef cattle. The Stuchbury fields to go into an anaerobic digester to produce energy.

The hedge jumps have been cut and prepared on the Barrow Hill side of the village in preparation for the Grafton Team Chase. Teams of four horses and riders are timed over a set course, with the first three home counting. Classes range from juniors to seniors. This event is very much part of country life, when people come together to compete and socialise, whilst showing their skills on horseback and entertaining all.

Two features in the village that many would not be aware of their history. The beech trees on Stocks green were planted in 1935 to celebrate the jubilee of King George and Queen Mary. Secondly, a lady called Annie Berry was the village Post Mistress and there is a bench in her memory just inside the churchyard by the footpath gate onto Church Street. I remember her delivering our mail to Stuchbury Manor Farm in the fifties, having cycled up to Stuchbury Hall and Lodge farms and walked across the fields to us. Always by 11 am and after delivering round the village.

Richard Fonge


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