Thursday, 4 December 2008
After the wet weather of the summer the frosty conditions are what we are all craving, allowing field work to begin in fairly good conditions. Derek has been been ploughing up on the hill in preparation for spring malting barley, grown on contract to Coors brewery in Burton. Derek will move onto the Vale land when and if the lower fields continue to dry up. The frost is great for breaking down the clods of earth forming smaller and smaller lumps which are great for planting spring seeds into, hopefully in January or February. As we didn't plant any Oilseed Rape on the hill this year, it was too wet and then too late, the area of spring barley has increased 5 fold this year. There will also be some winter barley grown around park farm, the first time for over 15 years! Lets hope we an keep it standing for the combine next July!
One of the knock on effects of the wet summer, and we will be feeling these for several years to come, is the fact that we haven't got any stubble turnips of note established to feed the ewes or the lambs this year. We have therefore concocted a ration made of our home grown crops to feed to the lambs indoors instead. The mix consists of woolly wheat (see 6-10-08 blog) oats and beans. The mill mix company are supplying some molasses, to sweeten the mix and make it more palatable and some extra energy in the form of fat.