Farming News – July 2021

by Malcolm Barker

The dry weather of June has been beneficial because it has allowed me to get most of this year’s hay baled without it getting rained upon. In a ‘normal’ year I would make silage early in the season and leave haymaking until later, when the grass is older and drier, after the seeds have formed. The long spell of warm, settled weather during June gave me the confidence to leave the mown grass to dry in the sunshine, turning it daily, until it was dry enough to bale for hay. Wet hay is to be avoided because at best it goes mouldy and at worst it is a fire risk as the bales heat up once stacked indoors.

The alternative way of conserving grass is to make it into silage. For this to work the grass is kept airtight under a film of plastic, either in a pit or as individual bales.

I have had to ‘hand shear’ most of my sheep because my electric shears wouldn’t cut the fleeces this year. Although hand shearing is a little slower, I think that the sheep are easier to control because they aren’t spooked by the noise of the electric shears.