Dominic Naylor: The start of August seems set to be a hectic time

JULY has been frustratingly ‘stop-start’ on the field work front, with glorious sunshine one day, followed by downpours the next.

The dry spell at the beginning of the month saw the Italian ryegrass, due for second cut, go to seed - no doubt with a correlative drop in quality, while the lucerne powered on, getting better by the day. However, both still await cutting.

With barley fast turning, the start of August seems set to be a hectic time! The rape in the demonstration plots has been sprayed off in two stages and typically the first to be harvested will be the bottom half of the field.

We held an enjoyable open day this month with Thompsons and Pioneer seeds to demonstrate our maize under plastic.

By July 15 every plant had tassled, which should mean harvest in the middle of September - unheard of in East Yorkshire.

The dairy front highlight, is my first milk cheque in 11 months with a ppl which has begun with a ‘2’.

Last year’s maize has now run out so I’ve increased the lucerne and altered the protein/energy balance in the blend which has come out cheaper and without a negative effect on yields. A spate of low peak yields among recently calved heifers has led to the discovery of lungworm. While they rarely coughed they never seemed to have any bloom about them.

Forced to sell before year-end

About 500 fat lambs have been sold so far this month at Malton market, with a further 200 to follow. The remaining 300 will be sold as stores. Usually, I would finish the lot but the DFB debt has forced me to sell before my year-end, which is July 31. Prices have failed to stay at 150p/kg which is disappointing.

The Suffolk and Charollais lambs have been the first to finish, with the Texels frustratingly slower. Yet their hardiness is so essential when lambing in March with snow on the ground. I need to find a tup which will do both! The ewes have had their second dose of pest control and their feet done. From now on condition scores will be regularly assessed with the aim of achieving a three by tupping. A top price of £79 for a pen of culls was most pleasing.

Our pork taste and quality trials with Cranswick Foods and a supermarket continue.

Finally, two days at the Great Yorkshire Show made me feel proud to be part of the agricultural scene here. The quality and numbers was outstanding.

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