After flaming temperatures in May scorching everything and everybody, June thankfully arrived much cooler and with some much-needed rain…
The arable crop whilst still thinking they are all going to resemble miniature variations of themselves, have finally decided to grow a bit after getting a reasonable drink. The oilseed rape has now finished flowering and is about waist height instead of its usual neck height yield approximation, so half its usual height. Winter Wheat is looking reasonable under the circumstances and regarding the Spring Wheat, well the jury is still out on it, which is just as well as we are growing lot of it. Our Peas and Beans sadly are patchy and uneven depending on type of soil and whether the pigeons think this is the best restaurant in the district, although we do seem to be falling into the latter category. Currently we are busy moving last year’s Wheat crop and pleasingly the prices are on the up, which is just as well considering the forthcoming harvest which we already know will sadly not be as much due the bad weather at the end of last year.
The cows and calves out in our fields are not quite the content animals we would like them to be as what little grass there was they have munched off within a week or so, consequently the round robin of rotational fields has kicked in very quickly and they have now been to most places they wouldn’t normally get to before July. With a bit of luck, the rain will improve this situation with some of the original fields beginning to grow upwards again which will be welcomed and greatly please all our animals.
The cows' winter yards have now all been cleared out with the dung being stored in a bay, ready to fertilize the arable fields in the early autumn. This job always seems to coincide with the hottest days so both the house and outside has the invading pong which certainly clears the sinuses. The outside yard has been replenished with new chalk and they look a brilliant white. Chalk is used as this is an excellent material that allows good drainage when the straw gets put on top. We have also put in a new water tank as the old one was very battered and the pipes were constantly having to be repaired, so to save water from being wasted it was time to invest.
Our sheep have finished lambing, with only the last stragglers born beginning of June and whilst it is always lovely and exciting to see the first lambs of the season, it is also a relief to see the last especially when it has been such a good lambing season. The earlier lambs are growing quickly and already look like teenagers rather than lambs. At home we have 7 sock lambs all named and bottle fed regularly by the children who have been building them little shelters around our garden.
With the warm weather we also started shearing on the farm from the middle of May starting with the most susceptible to catching flystrike, whilst the remaining bulk will be done imminently by the professional shearers. So soon there will be many lighter sheep around the Marsh with our barns bulging with their beautiful fleeces which we have been busy sorting for our next run with the mills that once processed can be sold through our Romney Marsh Wools business.
During these strange and unprecedented times, we are thankful and blessed to live in the countryside where farming naturally is a socially distant role and life has resumed with little interruption and in a fairly normal way. However with the current Government regulations, all the usual social farming such as agricultural shows, wheat trial sites, etc have all had to be cancelled and even going into the Ashford Market is only to drop off unless you are a buyer. Hopefully soon with some of the restrictions coming to an end for us, life will get back to ‘even more’ normal a little before harvest begins.