John Walton: Time to take stock now the first cut of silage is safely sheeted

AS we sheet our first cut silage, no doubt most of you will be thinking about starting your second cut. It surprised me how early some silage has been cut, some of it having been done in April.

I am glad we waited because we have ended up with a large quantity of good quality forage. We are quite a bit later because we rely on the red clover to grow the grass for us and, as this is a good 50 per cent of the bulk, we need to be patient.

In April it had only just begun growing and doing its job. I don’t often extol the virtues of something but if I did it would be red clover, in its relatively short life span it doesn’t half work hard.

I like June because it’s a bit of a ‘chill out’ month. When grass is safely gathered in there’s a short period when you can take stock and see where you are at.

This usually means the skips arrive and it’s time for a clear out. All those old broken machines you were going to resurrect, now end up on the scrap heap, destined to be recycled into something that will cost a fortune when it reappears with a new coat of paint.

I know some think local shows have lost their identity over the years but I feel they are fighting back

Talking of new machines, it’s show season again. Time to see what’s new on the market, only to be told you can’t afford it.

But what’s wrong with a bit of window shopping? I know some think local shows have lost their identity over the years, but I feel they are fighting back. Our local show, the Cheshire, has put a lot of effort into bringing back the agriculture element, trying to teach the wider public the importance of what we do – something close to my heart.

Richard is using more of the farm for grazing. It’s good to see cows on fields which never usually get grazed. We already had a good network of tracks, just a few links here and there to do. It’s worth the investment if it means we can keep plenty of forage in front of the cows.

As with last year, we have included in one reseed 2kg per acre of forage rape to give it some bulk for the end of July when the promised heatwave comes and we are struggling for grass. To be fair, it worked well last year when things became a little tight in mid-summer.

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