With the slight improvement in the weather over the last four weeks, it’s been quite a busy period here at Drum.

After last year’s horrendous back end, when we didn’t get any grass reseeds in, this year we’ve managed around 40 acres. With some of the older leys now getting ploughed up and put into winter wheat. Hopefully, if the weather forecast stays as predicted, we’ll have the majority of our planned 130 acres of winter wheat sown by the time you read this.

We’ve also had the combine in to harvest the spring beans. Given some of the reports we’d read, we had braced ourselves for a poor crop but in the end, we got a respectable 1.3 tonnes per acre.

The beans were crimped and mixed with draff before ensiling. The ratio of beans:draff must have been skewed more towards the draff than previous years though as the mix was a bit more ‘squidgy’, so we couldn’t get the telehandler on top to compact it down.

Hopefully, this will mean that it is easier to use in the winter as last year it set into a huge ‘traybake’ and was quite a lot of work to break up to add to the TMR.

All the milking cows are now housed day and night. We were a couple of days short of having the ‘mids’ group out grazing until October but given how it had looked at the end of August, we think they did quite well.

So now we’re moving the youngstock round the grass fields to try a get the covers down before winter, although one group of in-calf heifers seem to have their own ideas about which field they should be in – the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence…

Now that they are housed, the milk cows will, hopefully, get a consistent diet through the winter. The current rations are discussed in the table below table.

We had a slight issue with some of the cows in the ‘high’ group having slight scours a few weeks ago but we increased the wholecrop and it seems to have rectified the issue and stiffened the dung. It has cost us a little bit of milk but has been balanced by an increase in constituents so the cows are currently putting c40litres in the tank at 4.1% BF and 3.3% P.

We’re also finally getting the property repairs we’d pencilled in for the spring, before they got delayed by the lockdown, done. So, there’s a new roof on the calving shed and a vast expanse of concrete getting relaid, next the main farm house – anything to keep our mother happy!

It had been hoped that we’d also be able to start on the new house by now, but seems like everything slows right down when people are ‘working from home’, so we’re still waiting on the building warrant coming through!

Given that it took two years, two submissions and an appeal to get the planning permission in the first place, maybe expecting things to go more smoothly now was a bit of an ask?

‘Fresh’ group ‘High’ group ‘Mid’ group

Silage 20 (30% DM) 26 (28%DM) 45 (20%DM)

Wholecrop wheat 16.5 16 10

Meal 5.2 5.1 3.2

Ground maize 2.7 2.7 1.4

Crimped wheat 3 3

Stockmol 20 1.9 1.9 1.6

Golden flake 0.4 0.4

Barley straw 1 0.5

Hay 0.5