Well it would appear that someone has pressed the factory reset button on the weather with it now reverting back to what we’ve come to expect from our summers namely some sort of rain almost every day.

On the plus side, the grass is now all looking pretty lush but we really need a few days of dry weather to let us get the fourth cut of silage done. We’ve had analysis back on third cut that we took in the midst of the dry spell with only a few hours wilt and it’s almost as good as the first cut (31%DM, 17.8% Protein, 11.3 ME) which I guess shows the value of the multi-cut system when you’ve got the weather working in your favour.

Despite the more inclement weather, we’ve still managed to pick our days and get some much needed grass reseeds done. This will allow us to plough up some of the older grass fields that are past their prime for winter wheat.

The field beans have pretty much died off now, which it has to be said isn’t the prettiest sight. So hopefully we’ll get them sprayed off and then harvested in the next few weeks.

Given the change in the weather, ironically one of our biggest problems this month was actually complete lack of water. All the water for the steading, houses and field troughs comes from a single borehole and one night the pump motor burnt out.

When we moved here back in 2003 the water for the farm came from the mains supply but because of the elevation of the steading relative to the mains connection, it was first fed into a tank in a pump house. The water was then pumped up to a large storage tank in the hill above the farm with everything then being gravity fed.

Given the complexity of maintaining this system, allied with the rising cost of mains water and the fact that the pumping station needed its own electricity meter, we decided that in the long term a borehole would be the most cost effective option.

Using a combination of maps provided by the BGS (British Geological Survey) and a water diviner, we identified a number of potentials sites around the steading. I have to admit some slight scepticism with regards to water divining but there does seem to be something in it. And the fact I’ve used divining rods in the past to find water pipes leaves me severely conflicted.

Anyway we narrowed our potentials sites down and the borehole we got drilled has provided all our water ever since. Even accounting for the periodic replacement of pressure vessels and the like and the initial cost of the drilling, the borehole has certainly paid for itself many times over.

Being rather conservative though we have also kept our mains connection in the form of a standpipe at the meter. This means that in the event of something like the pump failure we’re still able to get a water supply while awaiting repairs.

That said we had a bit of an epiphany as we were carting the water. What if something more serious had happened to the borehole, say someone driving into the well head, putting it permanently out of action especially during the hot spell? We’d essentially have had to have someone doing nothing other than filling cubies with water and driving them to the farm just to keep the cows in water.

And with that thought in mind we phoned Raeburn Drilling to come and drill us a second borehole. Afterall you can’t put a price on peace of mind...

FACT file

JOHN, his brother Stuart and their mother Margaret, own and manage one of the National Milk Record’s (NMR’s) top Holstein production herds at Drum, Beeswing, Dumfries.

Their 309-cow home-bred herd has won the award winning spot for two years in succession and also increased production by 15kg of fat and protein to give an average of 961kg and 583kg of milk to 13,662kg on a three times daily milking regime.