Continued good weather means the in-calf heifers haven’t returned home yet. There are two groups of weaned cows out as are the hairy half-dozen bull calves and their mothers.
All were born from late May to June so will remain on the cow until the next TB test is in the rear-view mirror.
I got the ball rolling on having the TB reactors removed, so now it’s a case of trying to work out who goes where in terms of winter housing.
I weaned the last of the heifer calves last week.
They’ve made it this far without requiring a worm dose so I’ll see what the results throw up
They performed really well all year and I must take dung samples from them during the week. They’ve made it this far without requiring a worm dose so I’ll see what the results throw up.
The expanding of options among the eco schemes for the next CAP is welcome and it should be easier for farmers to comply. I’ve had a look through to see which ones I might select.
The crop diversification and GPS fertiliser spreader options aren’t on my radar.
I’d have to get the maps and calculator out to see what percentage qualifies for the space for nature option
The soil sampling one is out as I usually soil sample half the farm every year but the multispecies option could be a good fit. I’d have to get the maps and calculator out to see what percentage qualifies for the space for nature option. That could be a very easy option as I recall doing rough figures before and around 13% of the land was deemed ineligible for payment and that was before hedgerows are taken into account.
Salt winds would make the tree planting difficult but not impossible. There’s a bit more work, time and cost involved in that. If I take on that option I’ll have to keep the prevailing climate in mind to make it work when I’m selecting plants.
The irony if I go for the hedge option is that two sites that are contenders for a hedge are areas where policy was the driving force for my father to knock ditches in the early 80s. There’ll probably be another policy shift in place to rip them out in 30 or 40 years’ time too.
When policies such as the EU Farm to Fork, Climate Action Plan and the Nitrates Action Programme all point towards a reduction in chemical nitrogen, the levels permitted in the revised chemical nitrogen measure seem at odds with policy. Perhaps that figure being set so high is to gauge the reaction to those said policies.
I know the figures are indicative and the final choices haven’t been set in stone but the revised measure is surely a worthy contender for the mixed messages of the year award.
I feel like a broken record giving the reasons why it’s that low
The limit on chemical N in the original draft of eco schemes was 73kg/N/ha/year. Despite the farm usually being stocked at the higher end of under 170kg of organic N/ha, I would have been compliant with that figure in two of the last three years.
I feel like a broken record giving the reasons why it’s that low but it’s down to regular soil sampling, focusing on slurry use in spring, high clover content and only spreading artificial fertiliser when the conditions are suitable.
Curiosity got the better of me and when I checked up the nitrates use, the average for the last three years here is 70kg/N/ha. I could spread double the amount of chemical N that I’ve done for the last three years to qualify with plenty room to spare.