As usual September and October have been extremely busy months for us, finishing up combining spring oat crops on September 21, and getting all baling finished a few days later, it really never stops!

Then there has been the mammoth job of shifting wheat straw into carrot fields, alongside getting spring barley straw on lorries and away to customers, or into sheds and stacks. This is now pretty much completed, with just a few loads of wheat straw left to go into our carrots, and hopefully we will get started in the next few days with strawing carrots down for the winter after they have received their pre-straw down spray of fungicide and trace elements.

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Earlier sown seed winter wheat crops, drilled mid-September in excellent conditions after oilseed rape, look fantastic and hopefully continue to look strong over winter. We have two later drilled fields that went in after tatties in early October, they are just starting to emerge, and though we were unable to roll them we did get the pre-em applied.

One 11.5ha field remains to be sown and we are sceptical if we will be able to get it drilled or not before time runs out on us. The field was in tatties which were lifted in mid-September in excellent conditions. Unfortunately, issues with haulage delayed the C1 seed coming up from England to us until the last few days of September, and by then the field was water-logged. Anytime we get a dry few days and we think we are going to get it ploughed and sown, it rains!

We were confident we would get it on Monday past, we got four aces ploughed, then it rained for two hours – the joys! Fertiliser prices are on everyone’s minds at the moment. The price I was quoted for spring barley base fertiliser last week was 2.06 times dearer than it had been for the same product when I bought it in January this year. It’s difficult to know what to do, buy or wait, no one knows the answer, so I’ve bought some, but not all, in the hope the price goes down, and if it goes up anymore, it will probably not be cost effective to actually grow it, a very hard decision to make.

The last few weeks have been very busy on the sheep front, taking gimmers home from summer grazing, and sorting lambs We have been rotationally grazing our lambs on a clover and ryegrass mix that we drilled last autumn and though we still have plenty of grass we are finding it is making the lambs skitter.

Many days have been spent clipping dirty bums, I’ve been so glad that we got our new sheep handling equipment through the SACGS as the sheep clamp has been worth its weight in gold for doing this.

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Lambs were started on creep feed a few weeks ago as we were finding that they were no longer fattening off the grass, finding when we went through them that they were at weight but not the correct condition. Hopefully some of these lambs will go off next week.

We bought 50 gimmers this year, a mixture of Scotch Mules and Texel Mules from HISHA sales at Dingwall mart. This is the first time we have bought in females in quite a long time, usually breeding all our own replacements. We have also picked out 20 of the biggest and best ewe lambs, all over 45kg at eight weeks pre-tupping, so we will tup them this year to a Beltex cross tup bought from Upper Auchenlay, hopefully this is a worthwhile experiment and not a complete nightmare at lambing time.