The rollercoaster that is 2020 has changed again very quickly.
Only a month ago we were struggling for grass and feeding silage, due to the drought conditions which were broken by a few days of torrential rain and massive thunderstorms in late August.
Now, in late September, we have more grass than we had in June and it has been like a second spring, offering a very enjoyable month of farming. Cows seem content and are milking very well for their stage of lactation.
We had the heifers and milking herd pregnancy diagnosed last week and we are very pleased with the year-on-year improvements with fertility. The target of calving everything in two months is not quite there, but we are getting closer each year.
We will be taking what looks to be a good third cut of silage this week and hopefully maize harvesting the following week. The winter larder is still filling up nicely and we should be okay for this winter.
Our straw also came this week, not quite with an armed escort, but hearing of its scarcity due to lower yields around the country I am glad to have it in the barn.
We had a remote dairy farm assurance inspection a couple of weeks ago through FaceTime on my phone. I was unsure what to expect and how it would work, but I was pleasantly surprised it went without a hitch, other than losing mobile phone reception a few times in some of our buildings.
The process was still very thorough and credible. The biggest hassle was having to upload all the documents I have in my ‘farm assurance folder’ to the web portal, but it was not too bad as pictures could be taken and uploaded rather than having to type out documents again.
Our new glamping enterprise seems to be going very well and we hope to expand it in 2021. So far the feedback and enjoyment from guests has been very pleasing to hear. Most people have been fairly local (within a couple of hours’ drive) and they all seem to just want to escape to the country.
The space on the farm, alongside the animals, especially the ponies, seems to be a big hit. We tested the glamping waters with one tent on its own, which fits in well with Covid-19 regulations and seems to be what people are after at the moment. The demand for bell tent bookings right into late October has been very pleasing.
With four children living on the farm back to school after so long it has felt eerily quiet, especially as our daughter started in reception class last week.
It has been very strange not to have a small shadow and chatter everywhere I go around the farm. Rosie is particularly excited as her school has a flock of sheep. She excitedly informed me that we needed some.