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G.M.Hunter Ltd.

Tilbrook Grange

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Winner of

Devon Cattle Breeders Herd Competition 2016


November 2016

By jameshunter1, Jan 11 2017 12:24PM

At this time of year the arable work is up to date and little is done in the fields. So the social diary is open again after the harvest & autumn work. I received a phone call in June from an old college friend. He was attempting to get us all together for a reunion. I had kept in touch with a few and added to his list of Caythorpe students who left after four years in 1979. The evening was set for a November Saturday. A few were unable to attend a few were not traced. We assembled at dusk in a hotel near Grantham. After a lapse of 37 years some took some recognising! There was some drinking, dining and many hours of catching up with our lives. Quite a few came with their wives and soon joined in the loud and late recollections. We all remembered & I confess: It was our year of engineering students who one night borrowed a Massey Ferguson tractor from the college dairy farm. It was driven to the main building. It was then dismantled and carried in numerous parts into the college dining room. It was reassembled to a complete tractor and driven round the room before breakfast! We had a good time at the college and all were doing rewarding practical jobs. Several had not changed employer since their first job. I was the first to turn in at 1.30 and then I reckon they talked about me! We had a long breakfast on the Sunday morning and decided not to leave it another 37 years before we meet up again!

The winter wheat and barley are now all up. The conditions for the pre-emergence sprays to work have not been good. Until last fortnight there was not enough rain for the chemicals to get properly washed in. Some blackgrass is coming through. Some fields have been sprayed again to top up the chemicals to control the weed. I will keep you updated but little more can now be done until the spring.

On the cattle front, all calving is complete and the majority of the cattle are housed for winter. Stockman, Martyn, is again doing the artificial insemination and hopefully there will be a good result. In the last few weeks some of the old cows that we are not going to be breed from again have gone away for slaughter. The oldest were 14 years old and have given us a calf every year since they were 3 years old. They do go into the food chain but the beef is not sold over the butcher’s shop counter!

Unfortunately hare coursing continues. We have had two incidents in the last ten days. Police were in attendance again this afternoon (27th). During the past 12 weeks alone the Cambs police RCAT has stopped and reported for prosecution 65 people and have also seized 20 cars and taken 5dogs. Cambridgeshire Constabulary and the RCAT have put a huge amount of effort and resources into this fight against hare coursing which has resulted in this very commendable achievement.

My advice is the same. Always take a phone with you when walking and do not approach anybody in or out of a vehicle with dogs. If you feel at risk do not hesitate in calling 999.

Finally I was talking to our straw merchant this week. He was telling me of straw being loaded into curtain sided lorries in Oxfordshire, going across the UK & the channel and heading north. It’s destination just short of Denmark. It is then processed to produce electricity and some could return to us in the UK. I fail to understand why, when there are similar processing plants in Cambs & Lincs!

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