August 2013

The poppies seem to have an insatiable appetite for fungicide, during June they needed spraying every 10 days, but once the weather dried up, and they got past the vulnerable rapid growth stages, they have flourished.  They are still very clean and healthy looking, they have loved this dry weather.  When it is wet and cold, they can be decimated by downy mildew, which destroys the leaves, last year was not so good…

The farm has changed colour significantly over the last 3 weeks, and although we are still heading for a later start to harvest than usual, things have caught up a lot.  Most of the winter barley is less than a week away now, and the rape won’t be far behind.  Some of the wheat is beginning to show symptoms of moisture stress, where the leaves roll up during the day to prevent moisture loss, the downside of which of course means a reduction in photosynthesis, which we need for the plants to plump up the grains with starch. 

I am determined not to start moaning it is too hot; the weather of the last 3 weeks has been amazing, so warm, and terrific conditions for the crops to repair a bit after such a terrible autumn winter and spring.  It has been so hot on some days that the river has had to be visited for a cool down.  Surprisingly warm it was, but still refreshing, as long as you can ignore the unidentifiable murk floating in it.

There was also a beautiful family of swans down at Coomber’s shallowsThe state of play out in the fields a week on Friday:

Barley 10 days or so from harvest

Wheat a good month from harvest

There has been a great deal of activity around the farm yard in the last couple of weeks.  After we finished the wild oat pulling, a hard working team started work sweeping and hoovering the grainstores.  This is a vital job, to make sure we start the season with clean stores, there is also masses of metal and plastic ducting and timber partitioning which needs to be power washed, to make sure it is not going to carry any old grain or bugs back into the stores when it is used in the new season’s grain heaps.This picture shows the finshed article after all the mess of our drainage project.

The animals have spent much of their time sheltering from the sun in the heat of the day, the unlucky few without shade have just had to lie low in the grass and wait for the heat to pass, and do their eating at night.

It can be fun to remind ourselves what things looked like back in February, and then compare with what it looks like now:

Turnip eaters in mid February 

The same position, five months later

 

I am hoping there will be some combining pictures for next month, in the meantime, here are a couple more silly animal shots to finish with:

A novel approach at the milk bar

I love the wind in my ears riding on the trailer.

Happy Harvesting

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