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Peter Chapman: Cattle housed, cropwork at a halt, but HSE workshop a real success

There cannot be a much more satisfying sight than seeing freshly bedded cattle inside, especially when it is chucking it down outside (again). x

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All cows and calves are now inside after more heavy rain and with the extra space we have changed the way we have weaned the calves. Traditionally we have weaned the calves as soon as we take them in, leaving them in their groups along with their creep feeder to reduce stress.

 

This year, with the extra space, we have gone a step further and left them with their mothers for at least a week after getting vaccinated with Rispoval 3 and Bovilis, which has worked well with no signs of pneumonia so far. All the calves will be sorted into their final groups of stotts and heifers to get them onto their silage-based diets.

 

The cows will be PD’d which will be much easier this year, with all the self-locking yokes we have fitted rather than running them through a crush.

Ground conditions

Work on the crops has ground to a halt and it does not look like I will get the light leaf spot (LLS) spray onto the oilseed rape with ground conditions now so wet. I changed my sprayer during the summer, swapping my Bateman RB25 for a three-year-old Challenger Rogator RG655. It is a brilliant machine to drive, but is a big brute and it probably would give my neighbours great satisfaction to see it stuck in a wet hole.

 

A dry week could see a change of heart but a well respected agronomist told me not to worry as the back-end spray only gives three weeks of LLS cover and going too early achieves nothing. Better to wait until early spring when it does more good.

 

One event I attended this week along with Andrew, our self-employed helper, was a Health and Safety Executive safety awareness workshop. The invite more or less stated ‘be there or be inspected’ which is certainly a good incentive to attend. I have done some really daft things in my time, mainly involving working at heights, and gotten away with it. Attending courses like these fairly focuses the mind when you hear some of the horrific accident stories.

 

The six, 25-minute presentations were good, not condescending and full of good advice. I would certainly recommend anyone to attend to make sure they keep the promise to ‘come home safely’.

 

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