Although we have hardly hit spring, Fraser the farm manager is already planning the feed for the dairy and beef herds for next winter. Luckily the weather has been favourable to allow machinery on the fields and planting to be done.
Spring beans are being drilled to provide homegrown protein for the cows. In the next few weeks wholecrop and covercrops are to be planted ready for winter silage.
The least favourite farm job is underway, emptying the slurry tank! The slurry is being injected on the herb rich grass leys; the herbs include clover, chicory, sheeps purslain and yarrow. From May the gates in these fields are shut for 5 weeks to allow the plants to flower and so provide food for pollinating insects. Then in late June these grass fields will be cut for silage for winter feed for the cattle, this will be followed by another dose of farm yard manure. This reduces the need for the farm to rely on artificial fertilisers and creates a more natural and sustainable farming system; a huge benefit of a mixed farm like Blagdon. It also means the farm are not reliant on expensive, imported fertiliser. This is relevant at present with the high cost of fuel and the awful situation in Ukraine, a huge producer of the worlds fertiliser stocks.
The Belted Galloways are now in the ‘maternity wing’ waiting to calve (see photo). Sadly I can’t convey the noise of them totally relaxed and contentedly chewing the cud. Once all is well with mother and baby they will be turned out with their new calves onto (hopefully) the lush, new spring grass.
Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing ladies out there and here’s looking forward to some lovely spring grass for our four legged Mums!
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Jo and the Farm Shop team