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G.M.Hunter Ltd.

Tilbrook Grange

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Devon Cattle Breeders Herd Competition 2016

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September 17

By jameshunter1, Jan 7 2018 08:33PM

Again this month our boss, Mother Nature, has controlled what we have been able to do. The wet weather has continued. The autumn work got off to an early start when the rape was harvested. We ploughed most of the fields and they are weathering down ready for drilling the winter wheat. On these fields we are waiting for a flush of blackgrass. When at a suitable size it will be sprayed off and the wheat drill. The major problem has been the wet and being unable to plough the 200 acres for the spring barley. It has been challenging. I attach a picture of some ploughing done last week. The plough took a lot of pulling and has left a lot of work ahead.

A benefit of the wet has been that the rape has got away and is growing well. Last year we were beaten on a couple of fields but this year all fields have established. It again has had pest problems & need careful management. Hopefully it will be strong going into the winter & the pigeons will not give too much of a problem.

Winter wheat drilling will hopefully have started by the time this comes out. It is important to sow big bold grains. The improve some of our farm saved seed we use a mobile seed cleaning firm. They arrive and our wheat is augered into their lorry mounted cleaner. (picture attached) The wheat has the dust and chaff sucked out first then passed over gravity separating sieves. The seed is chemically treated to protect it from soil borne diseases. Finally it is then put into big bags, half tonne or tonne, which can be stored until lifted into the drill. I will be drilling it at 550 seed / square metre! Since 1984 I have drilled the headland by going round 4 times. This year it will be 5 times round, a picture will explain next month.

On the cattle front, calves have been arriving all month. There was an exceptionally busy week when 2 or 3 were born every day. There have been two sets of twins. All are doing well on the cows in the grass fields. Hopefully they will be out at grass for another month before coming in for winter. There are 40 young bulls, a year old, already housed for winter. We can better manage their diet to ensure they have a good live weight gain. They will be growing at over a Kilogramme daily.

In the middle of the month Martyn set off to The Royal Berkshire Show at Newbury. It is the last main show of the season. The only other show we have been to this year was the Devon County in May. The Show cow has been in isolation for 60 days in case she caught bovine tuberculosis when out last. I am pleased to say she got the same result as she did at the Devon county show. First Prize rosette again! (picture of Judges formalities) The next cattle outing will probably be the spring show and sale in Devon.

They have had a good year, an early turn out at Easter and plenty of grass all summer. They have looked well and quite a lot have been sold for breeding stock from Yorkshire to Devon in the last month. Young bulls will be the next pedigree animals to be sold to other breeders.

Finally the result may be out by the time you read this, If not I wish Hugh Sapsed all the best for “The Farm Worker Of The Year Award “ at the Grosvenor House on Thursday evening...



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