Down on the Farm with Colin Williamson - August

Colin Williamson
Colin Williamson

We finished second cut silage last week on a murky day, but the first grass we cut was nearer hay by the time the forager came in.

We were giving ourselves time to cut it all with our six foot cutter.

So we booked the forager for four days’ time, only the grass was very tough, and without full acceleration on the tractor the mower was soon under pressure.

The belts were warming up a little too much and starting to fray but we did manage to save these where the ones early in the season were just about on fire and in bits when I landed to take over cutting one dinner time.

That certainly put paid to cutting for four or five days as a new set of belts needed to come in by courier.

I have ordered another set now, proper manufacturers’ recommended ones rather than a duplicate set that you can get from any Tom, Dick, Harry or John.

Thing is nobody stocks anything these days.

These are even from where I purchased the mower and I think they are coming on a slow boat from China.

We should have them in time for first cut next year, maybe.

I got my pedigree Suffolk lambs weaned and was quite impressed with them; the lambs have grown really well and are about the size of the old tup, well the shearling I bought last year.

I really was not sure about him when I bought him as I changed my way of thinking by buying a growth and muscle recorded ram.

Instead of going by what he looked like, even though I wouldn’t have bought him at all by his looks when I got him (sounds a bit double Dutch) but by spring at lambing time I just could not believe how absolutely brilliant he looked.

I didn’t have his lambs’ growth recorded this year as I was waiting to see how they turned out first.

I should have trusted my own judgement as the tup I bought was in the top 5% for growth and muscling and the lambs are looking well.

I am going to start giving them a little bit of creep feed, to try and keep the condition on them with the grass going back over a bit, a small amount of hand meat will keep them growing.

The young bull I bought in June we have running with a small batch of heifers in the field next to the yard, even though we are feeding them with four foot round bales of hay as there isn’t enough grass in the field for them they are quite content but would rather eat grass.

I am keeping him close to home to make sure he is working and doing his job.

I have seen him serve two or three but am now waiting for the 21-day cycle to make sure the heifers are holding in calf and not coming back in season again, then I let them go a bit further from home.

Maybe I should have done that last year with the old bull as I had 10 dairy heifers to calve in July.

I thought its now August and for all they look in calf whether it be this month, next month or the one after I don’t know as yet but when I expected them to calve in July to keep milk production going as level as possible like the dairy want.

Production is now dropping and no sign of these calving yet, with some dairies now putting in fines for deviations on what is expected milk production wise.

This would certainly naff that up a bit.

As far as I’m concerned it’s just another way of trying to get the price down that they pay for the milk, as the dairies have tried most other ways and the dairy farmer has worked round them and we will work round this too.

On a lighter note, Whitby Young Farmers are holding their 75th anniversary bash at Whitby Pavilion on Friday, 9 September.

For tickets, call Rose Thompson on 820292.