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G.M.Hunter Ltd.

Tilbrook Grange

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Winner Best local product


Winner of

Devon Cattle Breeders Herd Competition 2016


April 2018

By jameshunter1, May 6 2018 08:12PM

Life up on the farm (by James Hunter)

We have snatched every opportunity to get field work done. James Young has completed all the spring barley drilling while I have been recovering from my broken wrist. The weather turned warm for a few days after seeding and the green shoots were emerging just six days after the drill left the field. We also managed to apply the pre-emergence herbicide. The attached photograph shows the rows up & down the hill. This is the normal way of doing the job. However the Environment agency would encourage us to work across the hill. This we did in the next field to the photo. Last autumn we were struggling to pull the plough up the hill because of the wet. James ploughed the field across the hill. This method is discouraged by the HSE, and is more difficult tractor driving. We also drilled the barley across the hill. The idea is that the water should not run off down the hill but seep in. The high volumes of rain have given the experiment a good test. My conclusion is that water flows downhill!

The larger capacity sprayer has enabled us to apply fungicides to the wheats and apply another dose of liquid fertiliser. Depending on the conditions and the dose of product being applied we can achieve 40 acres treated per hour.

While I am on light duties I have attended several meetings in the month.

Firstly at Kettering, Catchment Sensitive Farming organised a day to educate us on water and the importance of good drainage. It was a useful informative update and CPD point collector.

A few days later I attended again with Michael from Covington another meeting. The 8am start at Marston Mortaine drew a room full to hear about the Consultation on sustainable Farming & Food Production. This is a DERFA consultation post Brexit. The decisions will influence agriculture for the next generation. It has been described the possible biggest change since 1947. The environment is a major part of it which has been in the press. The talk was led by Nick, a very knowledgeable chap from NFU HQ. He had toured the country for three weeks giving every NFU member the chance to see where we could be heading. Whatever happens I am sure that there will be a lot of changes.

The following week I attended another meeting, this time in Shroud on Endurance wind turbines. Organised by a green energy company with environmental green ideas; we even had a vegan lunch! I spoke to delegates from Cornwall to Scotland and the main speaker was from Canada. The Endurance manufacturer is in receivership. Many turbines have been suffering severe breakdowns. Luckily we are further inland and the greater gusts have smoothed out before we take the power from the wind. Long may ours continue to rotate without problems. Others have not been so lucky.

My last meeting was with the MP Jonathan Djanogly. We discussed the DEFRA consultation. He knows a lot more about it now, and other local rural political issues.

Finally, I mention & congratulate Robert Burton. He is 18 years old & I have known his parents & grandparents for decades. They farm between Stonely & Easton. He was on BBC TV last Friday in the final of the woodwind section of young musician of the year 2018. He plays a Saxophone (well) and was up against flautist, bassoonist, a recorder player & a clarinettist. He won! I wish him well in the grand final which is broadcast on 13 May.

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