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In your field: Kate Beavan - 'Having our own baling kit is a huge advantage'

Thank you Jeremy Clarkson and team for making us smile. A brilliant series – educational, emotional and I’m sure opened the eyes of many viewers to the never boring, extreme multi-tasking and financially unstable world of farming.

Here’s to another series soon, we were hooked. I particularly liked ’the next time a farmer moans about the weather, put your arms around them and buy them a pint’. We felt your pain.

 

Jim had been mowing for hay but the distant clouds looked dark. Having our own kit and not being reliant on contractors is a huge advantage as they are now baled and wrapped.

 

We’re also pretty self sufficient with our animal feed, combining grassland management alongside growing barley and oats.

 

We have grown beans previously for the protein content and are currently looking to purchase beans from local farms to add to the mix this winter.

 

Ten acres of swedes and 12 hectares (30 acres) of green crop (kale and green globe turnips) have been direct drilled to supplement livestock through the winter months, reducing pressure on housing and bedding costs. Regular soil testing ensures the correct PH for optimum growth.


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Straw prices locally on-field are currently between £100 and £140 per 0.4ha (£100 and £140 per acre) so we appreciate having our own straw.

 

The wildflower meadows will be cut last to allow for reseeding, boosting pollinator numbers as well as other beneficial insects, predators and birds.

 

In Wales these meadows are also known as ’cae ysbyty’, or ’hospital field’, due to the medicinal benefits of the nutrient profile variety of plants with varying root lengths.

 

In a recent article in national newspaper The Guardian discussing what to eat to help fight the climate crisis, I was heartened to see grass fed beef and lamb at the top of the list and tweeted the article.

 

I have invited a follower who questioned this claim to the farm next month to see first-hand the environmental benefits of livestock farming.

 

I find it hard to say no, especially when animals are needing a good home, hence the recent arrival of four Muscovy ducks and a drake called Bruno who had previously lived on an allotment, but their owner is now unwell and unable to care for them.

 

The elderly gentleman cried tears of joy when he saw where they were going to live by the river, so you can imagine my panic when Bruno the drake disappeared a few days later.

 

Having spent an hour walking the river in waders looking for the drake (and falling in, filling my waders with water), I spotted Bruno stuck in some brambles by a barbed wire fence.

 

The ducks and drake were safely reunited and I retreated to the cider house, soaked and bleeding, for a well needed drink.

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