Friday, 18 December 2009
To that end we have decided to go down the fully EID route for all of our breeding sheep starting today. Each and every ewe and ram (they actually are already tagged), will have to have two ear tags, one yellow (with the EID) and the other a colour of our choice, except red and black. The black ear tags are reserved to indicate where a bolus EID is being used and a red tag indicates a replacement tag, where the original one has been lost and the animal is not on the holding (farm) of birth. This all has to be done before the animal is 9 months old or earlier if and when it leaves the farm.
Today we tagged up some ewe lambs that were born earlier this year, they had a yellow tag, with the EID inserted into their right ear and a blue tag (management tag) inserted into their left ear. We then scanned the tag, added their breed details and date of birth (roughly), into the handheld reader and then uploaded the details into the computer program. We will be able to use lots of this information when we are sorting lambs for market, checking on their growth rates, and selecting which ewes to breed from and which ewes to cull out. The equipment has been quite expensive to set up and purchase but it will pay for itself with far more accurate sheep records, providing detailed management information for Tod that can be easily carried around the farm. EID 'ing' the whole flock and lambs will enable all of the killing lambs to have their tags read at the abattoir which will then tell us which rams and ewes are providing the lambs with the best carcases and therefore where our breeding should be going. Right now we don't have enough information to make too many details decisions but over time t hat will change.
Sunday, 13 December 2009
Saturday, 14 November 2009
Friday, 23 October 2009
Well, here we are 24 hour to go untill we leave for Amsterdam, in 36 hrs we'll be on the plane to Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Dad and I in conjunction with brother in law James and father in law John are due to start the climb on Tuesday. Bags are packed, repacked and packed again with everything from longjohns to camel packs to re-hydration sachets (thanks hannah). I'll see if this get to farmer jakes blog so that I can blog from Africa's highest point, also known as the worlds highest free standing mountain, AKA the world highest volcano!! Let's go!
Farm manager Overbury Farms
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
For the past 4 years we have been hiring the grandly named 'Boddington Bean Drill'. the drill belongs to Boddington Estate and is a Simba Flatliner with a Massey seeder unit stuck to the top of it. It is a great way of planting beans without the need for ploughing. The beans are planted to a depth of 6-8 inches aiming for 18 plants/m3 by the time the spring arrives. We can plant over 50 acres a day much more than previously possible. We have started planting earlier than usual as the soil conditions are so favourable onto some of our heaviest land. The soil is lightly worked after the drill to seal up the slots made by the legs. Derek has been driving the 8530 all summer and is using it to plant the beans. Auto trac is employed to keep the rows arrow straight to avoid over or under laps which will make sure all of the agrochemicals applied by the Bateman RB35 will be accurately applied.
With the very dry September drilling (planting) has been a stop start affair but with the wider drill, now 6m, we have been able to cover the ground in record breaking time. Gordon has taken up the drilling mantle from his brother Andrew and has been doing a great job. Working well into the night with the Auto trac guidance system keeping him on the straight and narrow. With only 12mm of rain in September we have had some very dry seedbeds to plant into and germination has been varied depending on the depth on seed into available moisture or not. Winter barley planted on Bredon Hill has shot through the ground, where moisture levels were higher but wheat sown into heavy land has yet to emerge. These heavy fields dig get 12mm of rain last week and so they should soon be emerging. I increased the seed rate looking at an emerge plant population as opposed to a seeding rate. Emergence date was the 20th October when we planted in the last week of September so we'll see how close that is. the clip shows Graham rolling with our 6m Simba rolls and Gordon Drilling with the 7830 and the sprinter 6. Derek is just over the wall rolling with the cousins 12m set of rolls, new this year.
Monday, 28 September 2009
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
Last weekend the contractors arrived to spread about 400t of mushroom compost. We would usually hire the spreaders ourselves and do the operation a little later in the summer but the adjacent fields were destined for Oilseed Rape and so a quick turn around was required. I checked all of the NVZ restrictions and the water framework directory and found that there was no problem in spreading this low nutrient, high organic matter and high sinus clearing product at this time of year. As the spreaders started their soil improving task the waft of sweet fresh country air, held up on stiff south westerly carried nicely into the local villages much to the confusion of the natives. Were we spraying some horrible pesticide? Were the drains blocked and was sewage erupting volcanically from the nearest pipe? No I'm afraid it was nothing that exciting, it was just us enhancing the light soils with some well deserved organic matter. Next year I will be investigating some other forms of organic matter to help improve the land and who knows that type might even smell of Chanel No 5!!
Thursday, 20 August 2009
We've had a fairly good spell of weather for the past 10 days and been able to make good progress, we even managed to harvest some of the spring barley without having dry it. The Solstice wheat is all but in the barn, 14ha's left, at 500ft, that is not fit yet. We should finish the malting barley on the hill by mid afternoon today and then it's on to the Zebedee and Cordiale on the hill for the weekend, weather (as always) permitting. Straw baling has been moving on apace with 3 balers in the fields yesterday (thanks Brian). These will be planted with Catana Oilseed Rape behind the carrier and biodrill very soon. The wind is proving a mixed blessing at the moment: keeping the showers away or whizzing them through very quickly, but it is also hindering the bean desiccation and slug pellet application on the rape already planted, as always in this job there is a comprise to be made at some point or another. Carling have got their featured growers on their web site now, have a look, you might recognise someone on http://www.carling.com
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
The wheat harvest finally started on the 8th August in very dry and dusty conditions, needless to say that didn't last long. After a great weekend cutting over 220 acres of rape and wheat the damp weather has returned frustrating everyone. Here the last 9m goes into the combine a John Deere S690, equipped with Autotrak, (I can't drive that straight) on Monday morning. Later in the day a heavy shower forced us to stop. Hopefully the forecast will provide a little ray of sunshine or two and we'll be going again soon. The field was Solstice wheat, average moisture was 16.8% and it yielded about 8t/Ha.
Friday, 7 August 2009
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
Between the showers, (incidentally it's been the second wettest July for 58 years at Overbury) we have managed to get our new cultivator and tractor into action. Derek is using the machine after winter barley, straw baled and removed, getting a growth of weeds and volunteers before we plant Oilseed Rape. The field is the same one that we cut on the 28th July late into the night. The fuel usage of the tractor is in the region of 40L/hr depending on whether he's going uphill or down. This equates to about 20l/ha or (£8/ha), which is pretty ecomonical, for doing this sort of operation. Outputs of the 4m topdown on Cotswold brash have been in excess of 35ha/day or 86 acre's, when it dries out hopefully we can get rolling on the heavier land, where the operational costs will undoubtedly be greater.
Saturday, 1 August 2009
I haven't got a photo to show you yet, watch this space. I am drying the winter barley, second time around, on a very wet depressing day,
I can't actually believe that it is the 1st of August and the Ashes Test has been abandoned for the day. It might sound daft but this rain is almost worse for the crops than the very heavy downpours we had earlier in the week.
This rain soaks through eveything, the ears of wheat will be swelling up and taking all of that moisture in. Let's hope the weather picks up soon or it will be another rerun of 2008.
On a positive note we managed to get the new John Deere 8530 working yesterday between the showers, trying out the topdown on barley stubbles and it was doing a great job!
Thursday, 30 July 2009
Friday, 24 July 2009
Saturday, 11 July 2009
Thursday, 4 June 2009
a falonry display, ferret racing, tractor rides, cows, pigs, sheep and sheep shearing, chickens, ducks, stone walling, machinery display, john deere 'auto trac' demonstration, icecream sales and a pig roast (thank's Mick, Anne and James Meadows(Meadows Farm Shop, Bredons Norton)) a nature trail and a farm walk, organised by WCC. I think that is it but there might be more, you'll have to turn up and find out. Don't forget whatever the weather the event carries on. See you there!!!!!
Tuesday, 2 June 2009
Friday, 15 May 2009
Monday, 16 March 2009
This is the John Deere autotrac system working on our 6930 drilling spring barley last week. The tractor is GPS guided pulling the drill at 4m intervals across the field (we hope) The system was added to the tractor last summer to help reduce the costs of further chemical applications by not overlapping the passes and thus the fertiliser or pesticides subsequently applied. Once set up the system is fairly accurate. This should then make sure that the tramlines for the sprayer are exactly 36meters apart. A small inaccuracy of say 10cm, over 9 passes (9x4=36) equates to the tramlines being 90 out in either direction, which is quite a lot.
Thursday, 5 March 2009
With the dry weather returning we employed Phil Odam Farm Contractors to spread some organic mushroom compost ahead of spring barley on some light land. The compost is great stuff for increasing the soils organic matter, which will help retain moisture in a dry year (not required for the last two!) and make it easier to cultivate in the future, oh and great food for worms as well! It has a few nutrients in it as well to help the crop get established and to feed it when it starts warming up and the nutrients are released by microbial activity. Having ploughed the field, we'll wait a few days for the top to dry out and then drill more 'Tipple' spring barley.
Derek was loading the compost yesterday and today he was ploughing it all in, to reduce the risk of air pollution to our neighbours (wouldn't want the air to smell like the countryside now would we)! It also helps to lock up any nitrogen, stopping it from being released into the atmosphere.
Monday, 2 March 2009
On the 11th April we are having our annual Farm Lambing Day. Tractors and trailers will be leaving Overbury village hall, from 10am until 3pm, to take you up to Park Farm to see the lambing for yourselves. The game keeping dept, of Paul, Greg and Rod will also be there to uncover a few of the myths behind the dark and shady underground world of game keeping, accompanied by the stuffed or frozen usual suspects, friends or foe! Lunch will be available to purchase at the village hall from 12 am until 2pm, tea and coffee will be available all day. There is a small charge of only £5 for adults and children will travel free. It is a really super day out for all of the family, so bring them along, no matter what the weather is doing, and we'll be pleased to show you all about the lambing and sheep production here at Overbury. It got very busy last year between 11 and 1, so if you can try and get there early.
Friday, 20 February 2009
At last spring must be nearly here. we started lambing on the 9th on February, in the middle of the snow period and had to keep the lambs and ewes inside for 10 days before they could be turned
out into much sunnier weather. These lambs are down in Conderton and will soon be moved up into the plum orchard, when the grass starts to grow a little. If you want a closer first hand experience of lambing sheep our Farm Lambing Day is on the 11th April this year. Tractors and trailers will be departing from Overbury Village Hall from 10 am until 3pm to take you to the sheep pens.