Thursday, 30 July 2009

Coors Barley Harvest

On Tuesday 28th July we started harvesting our winter barley crop, destined for the malt houses in Burton on Trent, grown under contract to Coors, which should end up being turned into Carling The harvest was the first harvest in memory to actually have started on Bredon Hill as opposed to starting in the Vale of Evesham. The crop came off between and through some light showers but the strong wind enabled us to carry on until 1.30 am to finish the field before the predicted rain arrived yesterday. We harvest about 25 ha with moisture's ranging from between 18-21%. It will mean having to be dried, slowly through our drying plant twice. Drying will be slow and gentle, with not too much heat, to avoid damaging the germination, as this would make it useless for malting. Hopefully it should be OK and the premium should cover the extra drying costs. Samples have been sent off so see what the quality is like, we will soon know if the man from Frontier say YES!!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Soil Management Plan

Having reviewed our Soil Management Plan, which we undertook as part of our Entry Level Stewardship Scheme Agreement, we have needed to change a gateway to reduce the identified risk of soil erosion and run off. the field is of light soil (Cotswold Brash) is sloping between 3 and 7 degrees and is sometimes left as overwintered stubble's and summer fallow. This has put the field in the High Risk Category. The field also has a 6m grass margin a road and a gateway located at the bottom of it. (See above). In order to try and reduce the run off risk I have decided to move the gateway and bund up the soil, then grass it down, to join up the grass margin. The gateway has now been moved to the side of the field, located in the corner where the chance of run off is greatly reduced. The only problem now could be cars parking in the entrance to the gateway, as its on part of a 'T' junction so I'm off to put a sign up to 'discourage' them. Failure to keep the gateway clear, for farm machinery, will mean I will have to put a couple of removable bollards (concreted in) up to stop cars parking there altogether.

Never Rains - It Pours

Have we been here before? This wet spell of weather stink's profoundly of harvest 2008, which was the wettest ever on record. Damp dewy mornings are superseeded with gushing downpours, wetting crops, livestock and wild birds to their shivering bones. Can this be another wet muddy, tractor sticking harvest to spoil our crops potential? We need a cheap dry harvest as the crop prices have fallen nearly 20% since mid June and the quality, which we all need, will start to spoil in the fields very quickly!

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Tillage Event

On Thursday the 9th July the Gloucestershire Root Fruit and Grain Society held a cultivation event just down the road from us at Middle Farm Oxenton. We were treated to over 100 acres of working machinery demonstrations. There were 10 local farm machinery dealers present to demonstrate the latest farm machinery. It is really a great event to actually see these machines and tractors working in very similar soil types and conditions to those that we deal with at Overbury. There were also static displays from many other local and national firms all connected with the farming industry from grain traders to local colleges. The society has had to cancel this event for the past two summers due to terrible weather, but this year it all ran very smoothly and it was a credit to everyone who made it possible, looking forward to next years event!