Hello December!

So the time has come again to sit down and write the monthly (give or take) blog. And like some of my fellow bloggers my mind has gone blank. You wouldn’t think it was overly difficult to remember what you have done in the last few weeks, but it turns out that it is.

However I think I have remembered enough to bore you all sufficiently to put you to sleep of an evening. The good news is that we have finished up all our winter drilling with some oats being the last in. They went into a good seed bed with plenty of moisture around to make the drill a huge mess. I have been busy with the sprayer applying insecticides and trace elements to winter wheat and barley, and Kerb to the winter O.S.R to battle with the ever present black grass. We don’t seem to have a very bad black grass problem here; there are some patches and the occasional small field to compete with. The wheat’s seem fairly clean and we appear to have achieved good control from our pre-ems. The vast majority of spraying for this winter is done now and the sprayer has been washed inside and out and given a good dose of grease ready for next year.  There will be some inevitable repairs to do through wear and tear, and also a small modification to make. We are going to disconnect the P.T.O driven air compressor and wire it directly in to the air tanks on the Fasttrac which should allow the suspension on the sprayer to fill quicker.

Over winter here means we turn our hands to construction. This winters project is an insulated sprayer shed and chemical store. I cannot take any of the credit for any of the design or hard work in constructing the store as most of it was built before I arrived. The main parking for the sprayer is a brand new fully insulated and bunded store which drains to a bio-filter. Next door to the new sprayer store is an old barn which has had one bay of it concreted and bricked up to the roof, not before a large amount of 250mm celotex insulation was placed between the external sheeting and internal brickwork, with there also being the same 250mm celotex in the ceiling. Placing the celotex in the ceiling is the only part I have had any real hand in. Even then it was mostly a helping hand. One of my colleagues and my boss are both very good at construction, so it was a large learning curve and educational experience for me not having had any building experience before. As I have heard before, “every day is a school day” never more so has that been truer than in my new job here. I am learning lots every day and expanding my knowledge. Here’s a few snaps of what’s going on currently.

Back to the farming now, and preparations for spring drilling have started with the beet land getting some sewage cake spread on to it and ploughed in, to be left over winter to weather down and be drilled with spring barley. The farm that I live on is very much a light land farm so is desperate for some organic matter, so we have sewage cake off Anglia Water which they are due in Monday morning to spread. This time it is being spread on to next year’s sugar beet ground and will be chased up with the plough ready to be left for the winter to work its magic.

On the subject of winter, does anyone know when it’s due? It is 12 degrees here tonight as I write this, which is causing the crops to grow fast, perhaps too fast, as we are noticing some of them are turning a light tinge of yellow. But as I go to and from work hedgerow farming I notice that we appear to all be in the same boat.

Hopefully this week will see the last few hectares of beet lifted by the contractors, as always we have been waiting for the whole system to fall in to place with haulage and the factory deciding when we can lift as there is little point having beet out of the ground not going anywhere, they might as well do some more growing while they can.

In the lead up to Christmas we remain busy, but not all with field work, there is maintenance and good tractor husbandry to be kept up with. This mostly involves spending plenty of time in head to toe waterproofs attached to the pressure washer. My boss is very keen to keep all machinery in top condition for its age, this involves a good hot water wash to rid tractors and implements alike of all their signs of the hard work they have done for us. Being clean and tidy also allows for a much easier time when you come to servicing and repairing the tractors over winter and giving them the T.L.C they have earned, allowing them to work hard and reliably the next year. And let’s be honest there is nothing worse than going under a tractor and getting those lumps of mud down the back of your boiler suit that stay with you all day long.

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