WTFIH @ Thriplow Farms, December 2016

As crop farmers, we are almost done for the year now, which gives us time to get on with other bits and pieces around the place that have been put off for the last nine months. Because the weather stayed pretty dry all the way up into November, all of our crops were drilled in good time – if not too early in hindsight. The last field went in at the beginning of November, after the cows had gone to their new home, and all of the fences and water pipes were lifted. Luckily I was on holiday then so could leave the hard work to someone else. This field has had beans put into it, with a very clever type of machine that cuts a small slot in the soil, drops in the seed, and then covers it back over. It really is quite amazing, and almost impossible to tell anything has been planted there. The field is up near Newton if you want to have a look, it is called “Home” and is on the track between the gatehouse on Cambridge road, and the back of Newton Hall. One of the benefits of this type of system is that it leaves the worms undisturbed, and more worms is always a good thing. One night recently after a bit of rain I was walking in the field, and was astounded to see the surface covered in worms lying there all stretched out. I don’t know what they were doing, but as soon as they felt footprints they shot back underground. There must have been 50 or so per square meter, similar to the snake pit in Indiana Jones. Hopefully this is a sign that we are doing something right.
The rest of the crops look fairly well, but are quite small as we did not plant them until later than usual. We are hoping for some colder weather as this will naturally keep down the pressure from pests and diseases, and so I won’t have to argue with the agronomist so much about getting the sprayer out. One thing she can’t help with though is pigeons, which we really need to try and keep off the oilseed rape. If anyone would like to go shooting on the farm over the winter, please do get in touch.

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