WTFIH @ Thriplow Farms, July 2016

Last month I wrote about how the warm weather finally arrived; this time it’s all about the rain. Rain is, nine times out of ten, what dictates if we have a good harvest or not. It wasn’t too bad, but things were starting to get a little bit on the dry side at the end of May. So when the prospect of rain appeared, I did what any modern farmer does, and endlessly checked as many different websites and weather apps as I could find. It’s easy to choose the forecast which suits you best, but frustrating when rain keeps coming and going. In the end we did fairly well, getting 18mm, which was a lot less than only a few miles over to the east. Still, I’m not complaining and a further top up the next week, followed by more warm and sunny weather, means that all the crops are really in top gear at the moment. That is particularly the case with the peas, spring beans, and spring oats – which are in the field between Fowlmere and Thriplow, called HC 9. They are worth keeping an eye on as the speed they grow at is incredible.

All the winter crops are also moving fast, and it won’t be long until the barley is ready to harvest – probably in mid July. The wheats are entering a critical period called ‘grain fill’ when they need lots of sun and plenty of water to makes the ears swell, and give us a good harvest. So far so good…

It has been a mixed bag with the cattle. All of the grass has grown quickly – too quickly in fact as when the seed heads start forming, the quality goes downhill fast. We also then get problems as the stalks are very hard and poke the cattle’s eyes, making them more prone to infection. Because of this we had to treat some of them recently with eye ointment, and to try and stop it happening again we will cut the grass with a mower to make it shorter. That’s something I hate doing – but not as much as I hate having sick animals to treat.

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