Our Shire horses and vintage tractors and implements are used depending on the weather to spread manure in preparation for planting of arable crops and to stimulate growth of grass ready for our hay crop.
Our Jersey cattle are inside the shippon being fed a diet of chaff hay hard feed and beet chop
We will be milking our Jersey cows everyday until we dry them off prior to calving
Feeding sheep and getting ready for lambing
The hens are keeping their heads down and egg production is down. We feed and keep the chickens dry. We even light their small sheds to encourage them to start laying. They have great personalities and are fun to watch running around in the mud.
Hopefully with some dry spells the shires will be working hard as we need to plough the fields and then sow all our spring corn. We may resort to vintage tractors and ploughs. All the seeds have to be rolled and harrowed to stimulate the growth of grass which we also use our horses for. We may even fertilise the crops and grass.
We need to harrow and roll all our hay meadows as well so the horses have hours of work.
When finished in these fields we need to plant the potatoes and other crops to harvest using our vintage tractor and potato planter ( Charlotte’s favourite job but if you happen to be there I am sure you could have a go).
Lambs and sheep also need watching and caring for over this time and some lambs are bottle fed.
With a change in the weather broody hens sit on eggs and some are hatched in an incubator which need loads of care and work.
Hopefully our new calves are born at this time both Herefords and Jersey. The Herefords stay with their mums and we feed milk to our jersey calves as we will be milking the Jerseys to make our dairy products. You may get chance to bottle feed a jersey calf. (Jersey calves are especially cute and all look like Bambi) Last years beef calves may be fattened ready for sale .
Any remaining crops are sown. Weeding also begins which we use the shires to help. Some crops are thinned out. It is a huge task farming the crops and stopping the weeds.
The cows are now out at grass, but may be in at night, depending on the weather. The cows are now yielding their best milk rates so we are very busy in the dairy making butter and ice cream.
The pig sties should be full of piglets all getting fat on buttermilk.
The chickens are in full lay and eggs are plentiful.
Towards the end of June we will be checking the grass in preparation for hay making.Clearly we need fine weather….Make hay while the sun shines! The shires will be used to cut grass/turn hay and cart it in if the weather does not threaten to ruin our harvest. We need to get it in when we can as it is critical to feed the animals for the winter. In recent years we have only had a small window of opportunity between the wet spells so in that case we then use vintage farm tractors and implements to get the job done in between the rain. It is still a sight not to be missed .. part of our heritage.
We may still be looking to cut the grass and make hay. The later in the season the more concerned we become of getting a good crop. We need to cart the crop in and store it in the top of the barn.
Root crops are hoed and weeded for the last time and we are looking towards getting the arable crops in.
This is a special time as we try to use our vintage reaper binder to cut the corn. This is a good time to visit especially if you like or want to try stooking the corn in the fields to dry. When it’s dry we need to gather it in… again all hands on deck to collect the sheaths either behind the shires or a vintage tractor and cart. Don’t worry if you have never tried it practice makes perfect and there is always some one to show you.
Dairy work continues to be busy and hopefully no one has left without trying our ice cream made with our own jersey milk and cream to cool you down after all the work in the fields.
The piglets and calves are growing rapidly. There are still chickens hatching and the cows are at grass … some of the beef cows will be ready for sale Potatoes and vegetables grown on the farm are also harvested for sale. You could pick your own potatoes if you are lucky !
Harvesting of any remaining crops is a priority. All the straw need to be carted in and stored in the top of the barn. We have an old vintage elevator but there is plenty of work for volunteers! Stacking straw. The shires begin to have days off after a long season and before they start ploughing the fields.
All the animals may need the feed supplementing so we may start feeding the new crop. We will be using our 1896 threshing machine and steam traction engine …a sight to behold! We will be thinking about bringing in the cows and weaned calves for winter.
All beet crops / potatoes have to be removed prior to the first frost and stored in the farm yard
Sheep are put on stubble feeds to eat and clear any wasted corn from the fields.
At the end of the month we plough the fields either with the shires or our own pair of steam ploughing engines dragging plough on a steel line up and down the fields. This is definitely not to be missed so please check when this will happen.
There may still be time for some ploughing and threshing of grain before it really gets cold and wet.
Manure is carted and spread before ploughing.. again more work for the shires or fall back on vintage tractors and spreaders.
The animals are all housed now and need to be kept warm, dry and well fed.the jerseys are fed according to where they are in their lactation cycle. Young stock is fed to be fattened and the fattened pigs leave the farm…
The hens are cutting back on their lay.. we do not raise hens for meat so they have a quiet time until next year.
Farm maintenance .. weather permitting of draining the fields. Reapairing the stone walls and farm track maintenance plus generally catching up in all the jobs we haven’t done.