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G.M.Hunter Ltd.

Tilbrook Grange

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Winner of

Devon Cattle Breeders Herd Competition 2016



By jameshunter1, Mar 3 2019 06:41PM

Life up on the farm (by James Hunter)

So far, we are getting through the winter very well. But it is only a year since the Beast from the East came when the days were getting longer & we thought we were through. The ground is relatively dry. None of the fields are at field capacity (or saturated) and the drains & ditches are not running.

I know one farmer who has done his drilling. We are waiting for some emerging blackgrass to get larger. It will then be sprayed off and the barley drilled into a clean seed bed. The autumn drilled wheats are looking well and the rape has suffered some pigeon problem. I am aware that some in the village may have heard the gas gun going off to scare the birds away. I hope you have not been disturbed, rest assured all will go quiet when the plants pick up and grow. All guns are set to a strict code to not be a nuisance, but still do the job.

The rape has received its first application of fertiliser this week. Here I again give my annual warning about the next applications which will be a liquid nitrogen-based acid. It will burn your dog’s feet if you allow them in the crops, until it is washed in.

We are lucky in the village to have some lovely footpaths. I attach a picture of one up Hall Lane. We cleared it out several years ago and it is a pleasure to walk. There is the subject of dog fouling which I am going to mention, for the first time. Within the village speed limits & the church yard it is a requirement to pick up the dog mess. The other paths it is courteous to other walkers to move it from the walkway. There are two recommended methods, 1. To pick it up and carry in a bag and dispose of in a suitable bin. 2. The newer option which Bedfordshire County Council & The National Trust support on their paths is to flick it. I support the latter for you to flick it into the hedge bottom or to the edge of the growing crop. It soon rots down and is gone. I take exception to the people who bag it and then hang the plastic bag on the hedge or place it at the side of the road. The plastic does not rot down quickly, and the contents are sealed from the weather and don’t degrade. This is the worst way of dealing with is.

When the cattle are out in the fields please keep your dogs out of the grass. On average 4 people are killed annually by cattle. Some are farmers but others are because they and their dogs are chased by cattle. Last summer I had an alarm call that people were in a field with cattle. Luckily our cattle are quiet, and they left somewhat wiser!

Finally, it seems to have been a month of beef bashing in the press. Vejanuary has come & gone and there has been a report that we must cut meat consumption to save the planet. The report in the Lancet by a consortium of 37 international experts recommend that red meat consumption is cut by 50%. The BBC reported it in their usual fashion. The picture I received sums up the position well.

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