Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Straight Talking

This truck was parked up in rural Ontario, in a small village called Manotick, just outside the capital city of Ottawa (Canada) and I had to stop and take a picture of it. I feel it demonstrates in a heartbeat a simple message, straight to the point.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Coors 'Best Practice' for storage

The malting trade is a very difficult business as we are dealing with a living growing seed. The seeds or grains must therefore be kept in perfect conditions to avoid loosing germination or getting pest infestations. Keeping those two key thoughts in the forefront of our minds was the key message from James, who's farm we visited last night. Drying the grain and then slowing cooling the crop was the best way to avoid any costly rejections at the malthouses in Burton on Trent.
Trying to get the crop dried to a target of 14% moisture and then cooled down to about 10 degrees should see the crop safely into long term storage, from harvest 2010 until the summer of 2011.
Next week a group of growers are heading to Denmark to see what we can learn from the Danish growers and maltsters about getting the right product to the right customer at the right price. I'll keep you posted as to how we get on!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Evening Tours

On a cool and drizzly Monday evening Alex and I were joined by the new (and not so new) tenants of The Overbury Estate for a farm tour. the idea was to introduce ourselves to new neighbours and to try and explain what goes on at Overbury Farms throughout the year. An explanation about tractors roaring through the village at midnight during harvest to why dogs should ideally be kept on leads whilst walking around, lead to an engaging discussion. All sorts of interesting subjects were raised, keeping me on my toes answering all of the questions, which I really appreciated, I did honestly!
We are so busy carrying on our normal but hectic lives, we wave at each other whilst passing not really knowing the purpose of the trip but hopefully now some greater insight as to what might be going on will be helpful. It really was a great fun evening, even though we overran by half an hour, finishing the trip with the lights on the tractor, tells it's own story. I feel that this might be a trip worth pencilling in your diaries again for next year, I might even have attracted a few more followers of Farmer Jake's blog!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Silage Wrapped Up

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Following the grass being cut, the grass swath is spread out in the sun to dry. When dried to the correct level it is gathered together into long rows that the baler can follow. This makes it an efficient way of collecting the grass and wrapping it up. The baler and wrapper is a very new piece of nachinery allowing both operations to be completed by one machine.

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Worm's Eye View of Potatoes

This is one of the potato fields that Cobrey Farms rents from us. The field was planted in mid April and the potatoes emerged a couple of weeks ago. With the dry weather Henry Chinn has asked us to start irrigating the potatoes. they receive about 25mm of 'rain' each time we irrigate. the bare area in the middle of this field is where we spotted a lapwing nest when we were cultivating the field. In order not to disturb the nest we cultivated and subsequently planted around the nest. unfortunately the nest was predated after the field was planted. At the start there were 3 eggs in the nest but they soon disappeared leaving no trace.
This is a shot down between the potato rows showing how the plants grow and develop. Wit the warm water and adequate water they will very soon reach to meet across the rows. They need lots of water so that the skins of each potato are blemish free. This means that they will look more desirable to the customer when packed in clear plastic for the supermarket shelf. If these skins are good when harvested in August, Henry will pack them into 1 tonne boxes and put them into storage where they will stay untill Christmas (I expect). To find out more about Cobrey Farms you can visit their web on www.cobrey.co.uk

Thursday, 3 June 2010

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Yesterday evening (Wednesday) Gordon went off, with a good forecast for sunshine to mow one of the silage fields. The field is just south of Conderton and was planted last spring with perennial rye grass and red clover. The ley was grazed by sheep last summer and autumn before being rested over the winter ready to be cut for silage this spring. the red clover in the sward (mix of forage types) will provide good protein for the ewes prior to lambing next March. The rows of grass are being thrown around today to get the maximum wilt (to reduce the moisture), before being baled up in round bales tomorrow afternoon. The British summer can play havoc with silage making and even more so with hay making (as you need about 5 days good weather at least) so fingers crossed it stays dry for the time being. (Although the rest of the farm desperately needs about 50mm of gentle rain sshhhhh)