“THAT’S the best field of winter wheat I’m looking after” our spray rep said after his latest field walk over all the arable crops.
It is not down to anything chemical either. Rather, John thinks, to an old fashioned technique that he can use in this particular field.
Grazing it off with sheep when it was three or four inches tall just around Christmas time.
The field in question was for many years down to grass. It was well fenced because of stock grazing it over the spring, summer and autumn months.
Cattle and sheep both still graze in adjoining fields so it was very easy to turn the pregnant ewes in for a fortnight.
They would benefit from a fresh bite, and the wheat benefited from being nibbled down to almost ground level.
What the ewes have done is removed any leaves that might have developed mildew over the winter.
They were not in long enough to destroy the crop, but long enough to dismiss any disease and trigger the wheat into renewed growth.
Result. A fantastic crop that has not even had to have any fizz (fertiliser) on it yet and which is virtually organic at this stage.
The cattle are very alert to the fact that it is nearly turn out time.
The silage area, which is approached by the gates and yard that faces on to their fields, is crammed with morose looking cows hanging over the gate and gazing wistfully at all that yummy grass.
However, like children, they have to eat up all of their silage before they can go out to play, and there is still a lot of silage left to eat.
We have spent some time shuffling the remaining pregnant ewes around so that the field we turn the cows out into initially can have some fizz and be ready for the onslaught of the herd.
The ewes left to lamb are now in one of the farmhouse paddocks, the paddock at the other side of the house has ewes and triplets in (they need to be kept an eye on) and all the rest of the flock and their lambs are inland, well mothered up with their progeny.
So far we have only been left with a pair of pet lambs.
Touch wood we have been very lucky so far. Often we get left with quite a large number.
These two are doing so well that they have twice jumped out of their pen when they see their bottle of milk arriving. The paddock beckons.
So whilst things are doing so well (apart from Pip, our Labrador, finding the guinea fowl nest and eating all of the eggs) I am going to leave John for a few days and go off with a friend to Venice. The freezer is heaving.
He only has to reach in and pull out meals that seem to have taken me longer to cook and organise than the time I am going to be away.