Robin’s Travels…

tractorWhy is it when I put pen to paper one of the livestock sectors seems to plummet in price? Last time it was beef and sadly they have continued to fall. Can I say hopefully that they have reached the bottom? This time it is the lamb prices, last week £4.15kg/dw. This week £3.70 By the time you read this article it could well be different again. Maybe it will allow purchase of store lambs at a favourable price.

Turning back the clock, (if only we could do that in real life), the Spring looked good for most stock farmers. The cows got out into reasonable pastures, the first Italians came off well, and should have made good silage – then it all went pear shaped. As if we hadn’t had enough rain in the winter, we were blessed with another good soaking which put cattle back indoors and the longer term ryegrass 2-3weeks over stood before it was cut.  Thankfully maize is looking exceptionally well and should help out the deficit on the later cuts.  Hopefully one of the winners could be Paul and Heather Pittard from Oborne, Nr Sherborne. They drilled a mixture of 25kgs Rye and 16kgs Italian Ryegrass per acre on 17th October, no fertilizer being put into the seed bed. 24th March 85units of nitrogen applied with a 1st cut being taken 31st May with loads being recorded. This gave a cut of 13½ tons per acre.  After Cut 27-0-7 was applied on the 3rd of June at 75kgs per acre to give a second cut on the 9th July, of 5½  tons per acre, which was predominantly Italian Ryegrass.

All in all I would say that was very impressive, the cynical ones amongst you, might say will the cows milk off of it? 2 years ago they ensiled the same combination and the rep who was looking after their feed diets put the fear of God into them, saying the cows would NOT milk off of it. How wrong he was, he now looks after sheep and beef.

Finally, thank you to all the customers who came up to the Ashcott Open Gardens. We raised just over £3,000 for charities.  One person who left our garden said “This is the happy garden”, did she spot something growing I wasn’t aware of? or was it reference to the group in the conservatory who stayed all afternoon drinking the wine!

Robin Wale
Ruminant Specialist,
M 07970 578958