hypercharleyfarley


Latest posts by hypercharleyfarley

Farmyard manure ....what exactly is it these days?

Posted: 15/03/2015 at 14:22

The stuff you bought could have been produced on a farm where they just have large numbers of calves.  Lots of dairy farmers don't keep the calves their cows produce, but sell them on to those who specialise in growing youngstock.  The calves are often sold at auction and dairy farmers will buy heifers ("youngstock") to add to their herd - once the time-consuming stage of looking after them has passed and the animals themselves are nearing sexual maturity and can live outdoors.  Cross-bred calves (usually the offspring of a dairy cow and a beef-breed bull) are sold on to the people who produce beef animals, and the bull calves will have been castrated.  The pure-bred dairy heifer calves are sold (to dairy farmers) when they reach what's called "bulling" age and the farmer will then most probably use a beef-breed bull for the heifer's first pregnancy.  This is because artificial insemination isn't either successful or advisable for what's called "a maiden heifer" - the heifers will "run with the bull" in the fields, nature takes its course, and the resulting calf will be sold for beef production.  Subsequent breeding is usually via A.I., when the farmer will chose semen from a bull whose bloodline is that of a proven successful dairy line in terms of milk quality/quantity.  Farmers keep records of their cows' lactations and will only keep a pure-bred dairy breed bull calf if it's a really "special" one which they might go on to use to further their own particular "bloodline".

Farming has become so specialised these days - for reasons of economy and efficiency - that it doesn't pay to rear all your own home-bred calves, unless of course you are breeding a particular "line" and want to retain the offspring (heifer calves) for eventual inclusion in the dairy herd itself.  Calves will be housed indoors and thus create a fair amount of waste - usually straw-based.  People who keep horses nowadays seem to use wood shavings for bedding rather than straw.

potatoes

Posted: 15/03/2015 at 13:39

Years ago - when my Pa (who was a farmer) used part of the land for potato growing - we did actually "chit" potatoes.  The seed potatoes were stored foor chitting in wooden crates.  These were slatted crates, with an upright "brace" in each corner which allowed some space between each crate when they were stacked one on top of another.  You see a modern version of this sort of thing these days in some greengrocers' shops etc - it means that the contents of the crate don't get squashed.by the one stacked on top of it.

The machinery used for planting had a sort of shelf along the top of the axle, and this was big enough to accommodate the boxes of chitted potatoes.  There were  two seats behind the shelf, which is where the workmen sat.  They picked each potato up and dropped in down into the furrows which had been created by the part of the machine in front of the axle.  This way, it was possible to use chitted potatoes without damaging the new growth, because the potatoes didn't actually come into contact with any of the machinery's moving parts.

p.s.  the people round here who grow "first earlies" commercially have already got them  in the ground - there's a sort of covering made from plastic - on a sunny day it makes the fields look a bit as though someone has laid down a whole lot of strips of white carpet!

potatoes

Posted: 13/03/2015 at 21:44

I doesn't seem to matter much whether you "chit" or not these days.  e.g. the commercial growers round here have planted about 40 acres of potatoes over the past day or so.  I checked the contents of the potato boxes at the side of the field, and no sign of any growth on the seed potatoes.   They couldn't use chitted potatoes with modern machinery anyway, because the processes would rub the shoots off.  They even use GPS to find the most economical route to cover the acreage/ ref time taken/turning space for the tractor etc etc  so my guess is that if it were really worthwhile chitting potatoes before putting ithem in the ground, they'd have come up with some way of doing it by developing the machinery to cope.

aged manure advice?

Posted: 13/03/2015 at 21:32
cowslip2 wrote (see)

I find it surprising that anyone needs to buy manure from a garden center. So much available from farms, most of it free I'm sure. Oh dear, how fortunate some of us are! 

 

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Not really true - manure at most farms round here is stored in more-or-less liquid form in huge slurry tanks/pits and is spread/sprayed on the land, from a trailer which looks a bit like an oil tanker.  This has come about because the way of housing dairy cattle and so on has changed a great deal over the years and large quantities of straw etc are no longer used. 

The best opportunity to get the sort of manure people want for use in gardens is probably from livery stables and so on, where lots of (initially) dry bedding material such as straw or wood-shavings are used.  The wood-shavings take far longer to decompose/rot down than straw-based stuff.

 

Lawned - is it a word

Posted: 05/03/2015 at 12:29

I think you can use it as an adjective but not as the past participle of a verb.

 

p.s. edited to agree with "so........... "  !

Daily Bird Sightings 2015

Posted: 11/02/2015 at 18:31

I think fieldfares and redwings prefer open ground and seem to stay(often together) in flocks - I see them in the fields round here but never in the garden.

Help please!

Posted: 11/02/2015 at 18:25

I had the same problem some years ago and the only solution for me was to fence the garden securely, using "stock" netting along the post & rail fencing and hedges.  It was quite straightforward to fix the netting to the post & rail, and for the hedges I had short posts put in, as close as possible to the hedge itself, and the netting was fixed to them.  Now it's almost impossible to see the netting there, as the hedging has grown through to some extent.  Badgers are surprisingly strong, so tough fencing/netting is what's needed. 

In case you're wondering what I mean by "stock" netting, it's the sort which comes in a roll and is made from strong wire, and the spaces are square/rectangular, rather than the "chicken wire" hexagons.  The way to attach it is to fix the "squares" part at the top and the "rectangles" at the bottom.  If you can visit an agricultural supplies place, you'd be able to see it - or ask a fencing contractor to show you.

Room 101

Posted: 28/01/2015 at 19:22

I'd love to be able to get rid of the current fashion for speaking as though every statement or sentence is a question?  ..................... there's surely enough room left for that.................? 

Would you pay more for a pint of Milk ?

Posted: 21/01/2015 at 11:04

Hi Bekkie - I don't believe that considering animal welfare is anything new - it's just something people tend to bang on about these days.  Even from a totally practical point of view, healthy happy animals produce more and better milk.   What does bother me though is that the size of herds these days must mean that dairy farmers probably don't know individual cows in the way that the men who worked for my Pa did.  This may well mean that small changes in behaviour (which could mean a health problem) or minor injuries go unnoticed.

Would you pay more for a pint of Milk ?

Posted: 21/01/2015 at 10:02

Housing dairy cows indoors isn't as bad as you think - they need to be warm in the winter!  These days it's probably better than it used to be in that the cattle aren't tied up in a stall, but relatively free to wander about in the shed.  The automated milking parlours enable them to be milked several times a day which - when you think of it - is what would happen naturally. 

I have come across people who haven't realised that cows need to have had a calf before they produce milk, and that no cow is in fact milked 365 days a year!

Discussions started by hypercharleyfarley

ID please!

looks like a cross between grass and foxglove 
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