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September 12, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley farming news

Apley harvesting - loading bales onto the trailer

Apley harvesting – loading bales onto the trailer

2015-09-12, Apley harvesting, green loader

Apley harvesting, green [straw bale] loader

I’ve just been exercising our girls’ ponies in the stubble fields which currently surround us. It’s a great time of year to ride – gorgeous late summer sunshine & vast expanses of clear field for galloping. The bales vary in size & shape depending on the baler, eg. quarters & Hesstons made using Massey Ferguson balers (so Bill told me !), but even the smallest looked too big for me today. It allowed me to take these photos before the fields are all ploughed up & sown again:

In the last week of August, harvest was progressing very slowly. At that time, they still had 490 acres left to harvest, but in only 17 days, they’d had 97mm of rain ! By this Monday (7 Sept), Adrian (Apley’s farm manager) said he was hoping to complete the combining (harvesting with a combine harvester) by the end of next weekend (19 Sept). All Oilseed Rape has been sown for 2016 & now they’re hauling straw (bringing in bales of straw from the fields, either to store in our own barns or sold directly to external buyers).

Crop yields (how much grain is produced per acre) have been very good this year thankfully. It can vary a lot from year to year, depending on a wide range of factors – principally the weather, but also crop disease & pests.

In the meantime, they’ve been topping (mowing, cutting the tops off the grass – ie. mowing, but not very short) around field edges, hedge cutting & drilling (sowing) Oil Seed Rape (OSR). By the way, I’ve just read Rape Seed Oil has, compared with other cooking oils, lower saturated fats & 10 times the omega 3, naturally occurring vitamin E.

*In-hand farming refers to the acreage of land a landowner farm directly themselves instead of letting it out to tenant farmers.

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