John Walton: As the farm enters its busiest part of the year, a lot hangs on the weather
What a difference a month makes. Last month we were crying out for rain as the whole country baked in sunshine and now it won’t stop.
On one hand it is such a relief to see the vegetables recover and thrive with welcome moisture, and on the other, is despair as visitors to the farm dive for cover as another rain shower passes. I don’t know if it’s the start of the school holidays or the sight of the combine ready to roll that triggers off the rain clouds.
We have managed to keep the cows milking by buffer feeding first cut silage along with four hectares (10 acres) of forage rape, triticale and Italian rye-grass which we planted as a bit of a back-up in the spring and has been a bit of a saviour giving us a good bulky grazing once a day for over three weeks, I think I did mention it was a bit more good luck than good management, but it’s done a job and given the grass a bit of a respite - now we have plenty of grass again.
Talking of cows, I have been walking around, checking to see that no two heifers look too much alike, or should I say ‘clones’ of one another, or even to check there aren’t two cows sat under a tree having a fag. Thankfully, each one looks very much an individual and behaves in the usual manner.
Seriously, it beggars belief the media can create such hype and unrest over something such as this.
So apparently, the feed manufacturers are warning of massive feed price increases due to the soaring price of wheat. Well what a surprise - they never seem quite so eager to drop the price when the wheat price is on the floor, and I wonder if the fact the milk price has seen a slight increase has any- thing to do with their decision. Please remember when the feed rep comes in the yard to ask the question and give him the roughest ride of his life.
As we enter probably the busiest time of the year for all parts of the business, we hope for a decent spell of weather. The triticale is looking well and hopefully the increased seed rate will pay dividends with higher yields. It will be interesting to see whether or not the price of organic cereals tracks conventional. It usually takes a week or so to find its level, but it needs to be getting to the £200/tonne mark to put a smile back on my face. The seed crops are looking particularly well - all we need now is the sunshine.