Lambing is now almost over (there were 26 ewes left to lamb at last count) and, love ‘em or hate ‘em, the countryside is becoming awash with the yellow flowers of oilseed rape. I can remember during my younger years, whenever we took long family car journeys, which fortunately was quite rare, the bright yellow fields were always referred to as Custard Fields, therefore it is no wonder that I grew up thinking that the custard that I so loved on practically any pudding came from these bright yellow flowers. It was not uncommon in our household to have a simple dessert of banana and custard (that was obviously only ever served up by the male contingent. It was far too simple a dish for any self respecting housewife to prepare). It was fairly shortly after that it became obvious that these weren’t actually custard flowers, and in fact they were used for making various types of oils for cooking with, and combustion, however it was only in my teens that I wondered what was actually in custard? Well, to find out it was merely as simple as blending eggs, milk and spoonfuls of sugar literally BLEW MY MIND!
So as the countryside turns bright yellow, the focus for us here turns to crop production. Most of the planting is done, crops are established, and they now need fertilising with the vital nutrients required to produce a healthy crop. Also required is protection from harmful pests, disease and competitive weeds.
Spraying chemicals is not part of the job that anyone looks forward to. However we live in a country where space is limited, and is being developed on as the population grows. With more mouths to feed, and less space to grow the food on, getting the absolute best out of the crops that are being grown is imperative, and using regulated chemicals is one option.
Other recent developments here include the annual turnout of cattle that have been housed over winter. We bring them in around December when it starts getting cold, and the grass stops growing. Hay and silage keeps them going whilst they’re indoors, but this time of year, as it warms up and we have warm April showers, is perfect grass growing weather. So we load the cows in the trailer and take them out to the fields. Having spent 4 or 5 months indoors, the sight of a wide open space with fresh green grass sends them dizzy with excitement and they pile out, kicking their legs as they explore the pasture.