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In your field: Jon Stanley - 'Afternoon milking have been like being in a sauna with flies'

The longest day, summer solstice is behind us. As we move into official summer, it is such a beautiful time of year to be up at silly o’ clock as the sun rises and there is very little noise in the countryside, except the vocal birds singing their dawn chorus. They seem to be even louder this year.

It is great to see the abundant wildlife, particularly the young hares which appear and streak away almost from under your feet. Occasionally I hear the neighbour calling his cows in and the hum of a distant vacuum pump.

 

It has been a treat to milk in the coolness of the morning as some of the recent afternoon milkings have been like being in a sauna with flies.

 

We thankfully had some very welcome and very heavy rain recently which has done the grass the world of good. The whole farm greened up quickly as, like most places around us, it had started to burn off with the recent drought.

 

We did have to start feeding first cut silage and much more concentrate in the parlour to slow the grazing rotation, with the aim of maintaining the grass in the cows’ diet, and it seems to have worked. We are praying for a normal summer going forward rather than the extremes of drought versus rain.

 

The rain does look to have saved the day and hopefully we will be able to make a good second cut silage in the next couple of weeks. We are just about to mow our dry cow hay and it has definitely bulked up since the rain.


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We finished AI breeding of the herd after six weeks and we have now let two beef bulls run with cows to hopefully sweep up any stragglers. It was tricky spotting bulling cows in the hot recent weather but I think breeding generally went very well.

 

It was great to see that the NFU’s recent food standards petition got well over one million signatures. Let us hope Government listens and acts accordingly in any trade deals to safeguard the high standards UK farmers have to adhere to.

 

With the last few calves weaned and breeding finished, it feels like school summer holiday time, but then again it has seemed like that since March this year due to Covid-19.

 

We did submit a Countryside Stewardship application for the new farm we have taken on up the road and it will be good to get it re-fenced, which is the job for this summer.

 

I do find it most strange that a row of cottages which adjoin some of the land all have varying sized pedestrian gates that back open onto the land in the hedges. The re-fencing we have planned may not go down too well.

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