Down on the Farm with Colin Williamson

Colin Williamson
Colin Williamson

By, isn’t it grand?

A long open backend with most of the stock still out and not poaching the land, we really are over the moon, even the dairy cows are going out still for a couple of hours, well half a dozen anyway in the middle of the day. They will have to come in this week, as its coming rather chilly and the grass is stopping growing, – you can’t believe it gets down to two or three degrees and we think its getting cold, yet we battled on last year at 10 or 11 degrees below.

We brought 20 youngsters just about a year old from summer grazing, they have been as good as gold all summer.I brought them back home and the first two days they did nothing but break out. They will be in tomorrow.

Suckler cows and heifers have been grazing banks at the back of the farm.We took the calves off them a couple of months ago (didn’t want catching out like last year when the snow came and eight of them went down with grass staggers one night). These lot have been very good too up until the syndicate started shooting the woods close by and then they take umbridge and gallop away. Today being no exception as Sam walked with his three spaniels across the field to pick up, they can’t have liked the look of him very much because they all took off over the field straight over the top of a five bar gate and in with the dairy cows. There was 20 in the batch and not one of them seemed to have touched the gates.

I wasn’t going to mention about sowing grass seed, but after we had managed to get the potatoes picked late as it was, I decided well if grass seed would grow then it would have a head start on sowing some next spring and lose the main growing season.

I harrowed it down half a dozen times and missed the dry spell but a week later the ground dried up enough to go back into the field. I put on half as much again extra seed as the pheasants that had been scratting the soil of the potatoes after I had taken the tops off them were still scratting about and eating leaves off the few turnips we managed to get to grow.

I just hoped they wouldn’t find all the seed I put on. I sowed it on 31 October, only two months late really. I was surprised when looking across the field on 17 November, milk cheque day.You could see a green sheen across the field, pretty good really – I got the seed from Ian Roberts at Sleights. The ground conditions I sowed it into were poor to say the least, so the seed must have been very good.

I have half a dozen dry cows grazing next to the hay shed. They have not got a lot of grass so I’m supplementing them with the odd bale of haylage. On taking a bale in for them, can’t remember whether it was last week or week before, I noticed a strange bit of plastic about 10 yards from the shed. After picking it up I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, breath a sigh of relief or curse like hell. I choose the latter as what I’d picked up was one of those Chinese lanterns, the whole side of our hay shed is open with straw and hay stacked high, all I could think was which stupid irresponsible person would send a naked flame up in the air to just blow in the wind to take wherever. It doesn’t bear thinking about if it had blown another 10 or 15 yards. I still curse now when I think about it, but no worries.

On a brighter note the goats have been out all summer long and we took pity on them at the weekend and took them inside, I don’t think they were that pleased really, but they will settle down in their winter accommodation. Soon be spring anyway.

Well, just a couple of weeks off Christmas, so here’s to wishing everyone all the very best for Christmas and a prosperous 2012.