John Walton: Taking stock and preparing for Halloween
Things have slowed down, giving us chance to take stock after the summer rush and welcome two new members of staff on farm. Richard will take control of the dairy herd, while John brings new ideas to take the open farm forward.
It is an exciting time as fresh ideas inject new energy, especially in a business as diverse as ours. It will take time for them to adjust, but it is good to see them getting to grips with things.
At the end of a challenging summer for the dairy, it is very much a ‘will they, won’t they’ scenario regarding feed.
We have filled the silage pits and started feeding earlier than usual, sparking the question: will we have enough? Well, thanks to a phenomenal growth spurt in the red clover through August, third cut has put my mind at rest - as well as triggering a moment of madness when we decided to bring the cows in for the winter.
I fear it will be rather a long one, but seeing too much stainless steel in the tank on collection days channels the thought process.
Growing organic cereals can be challenging, especially now that seed is in the shed, fields are wet and getting wetter and neighbouring fields have been drilled.
The idea is to sow later to keep disease risk to a minimum, but there are a few twitches going on as the weather seems to favour low pressure. No doubt the twitches will cease as we bask in sunshine in a week or two and sow to our hearts content amid a dust cloud.
The time to start worrying is at harvest festival - singing about ploughing fields and scattering seeds, yet feeling a bit of a hypocrite.
As we enter October, it seems that wherever you turn Halloween is around the corner. I recently attended an event aimed all sorts of leisure activities, including farm attractions. Halloween was quite a large part of it.
I bravely entered the spooky area, holding on to the wife in case she felt scared. It scared the living daylights out of me, zombies breathing down your neck, spine chilling screams… It’s no wonder children grow up with nervous dispositions. It gave us food for thought for the Stockley farm Halloween celebrations. Come along, if you’re brave enough.