Autumn Planting is Completed, with the last of the wheat being drilled into wetter soils than I would like, but on the whole a pretty good season. Well done to Marvin who has been chief drill man this year. Now the anxious wait and watch as the wheat emerges, to see if there are any embarrassing misses or wobbly bits in fields, providing neighbours with the chance for friendly ribbing and entertainment. – I’m sure Marvin will be fine and everything will look spot on.
I have had a couple of days on the drill this year, including one field where I have missed patches. Hopefully, there will be eleven equally spaced bare patches across the field, each around 4 by 6 metres in size. These are skylark scrapes, which are designed to allow skylarks to land and take off safely, as well as to have dust baths and sun bathe. Being scattered in the field, they allow skylarks to nest under the safety of cover from the adjacent crop growing around them; thus reducing the risk of predation of these endangered ground-nesting birds by foxes, buzzards or kites for example. This a brilliant example of one of the sustainable farming practices carried out by LEAF farmers www.leafuk.org
We have had the excitement of a new tractor arriving this month. The British built New Holland replaces our thirteen-year-old John Deere, after 5600 hours of reliable service. This is equivalent to a car travelling at around 45 miles per hour doing over a quarter of a million miles, but remember it is in muddy, bumpy fields, often carrying or pulling heavy loads. As well as a tractor, it also had a loading shovel on the front, used to load lorries with the crops after harvest. The loading shovel was 21 years old and I reckon has loaded over 50,000 tonnes of crops, hardcore, and other materials over its life. That is equivalent to 35 million bottles worth of Farrington’s Mellow Yellow!
The new tractor certainly has a lot to live up to. I chose it because the engine is superior, using the latest emissions technology, making it very frugal and clean. It has all the usual toys and buttons, from cab suspension, tiptronic gear box, air conditioning to blue tooth radio. However, because it is blue rather than our usual green, the girls in the office are not so convinced it matches our other two tractors. However at three times the cost of an average family car, I won’t be adding to it anytime soon. Besides, Marvin will be getting a complimentary pair of overalls to match it.