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Farmer Focus: 2021 is not a haymaking year

It is certainly not going to be an early harvest, with damp and showery conditions prevailing for much of June.

In years like this, I am thankful that we choose to buy in hay for our horse liveries expertly made by our good friend, Jim Pearce.

That's because making hay, it seems, is sometimes a joy, but frequently a pain the backside when the weather is against you. The 2021 hay season is the latter.

Hew has made good use of the dull and overcast days for applying foliar urea to our milling wheats to boost protein.

Usually we do this job late in the evening and into the night to reduce the chance of scorch, but when the sun is not shining that is not necessary. A benefit of the miserable weather.

The borage is now flowering nicely and buzzing with bees and other insects. Our thoughts will turn to swathing it before long.

This is the only sensible way of stopping the indeterminant flowering of borage to get it in a state for harvesting, but I see some oilseed rape has been swathed locally too instead of desiccating.

For decades it has been the quandary for OSR, to swath, spray or just leave it. I wonder if we are going to see a slight return to swathing.

We are doing a lot of building maintenance in the run up to harvest.

We have a leaking asbestos valley gutter, which we have been moaning about for years but have now hit upon the perfect solution.

It does not involve going on the roof and does not involve disturbing the asbestos, both excellent points from a health and safety angle.

We are having contractors slide in a continuous 37 metre extruded aluminium gutter lining on top of the existing gutter.

They will be able to do this from the safety of a cherry picker on the gable ends.

I admit the cost is slightly eye watering at £100/m, but I am happy to pay this knowing that nobody is risking life and limb.

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