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Broom House Farming News

Soil testing has been carried out across part of the farm - we aim to check about a fifth of the fields every year, and lime has been spread to correct the pH where necessary - grass likes a neutral soil. The oats have germinated and have been undersown with grass and clover. The word undersown is a bit confusing as they were actually weeded with the Einbock rake and then sown using the quad bike with the seed spinner mounted on the back. The grass will grow up underneath (hence the word undersowing) protected by the oat crop - well, that's the theory anyway. To find out more about how an organic farm works why not visit us on the 9th June for Open Farm Sunday, when we have our annual talk and walk. There was too much rain in Durham last Saturday, the river Browney burst its banks mid morning, but luckily we had thought ahead and moved the ewes and lambs and the bulling heifers off the riverbank fields, just in time. The raging torrent went as quickly as it came and the fields have been glad of the watering. The bulls have been tested and sadly old Mr Berry is no longer fit for purpose. The plan is to keep him for this summer as a back up. A new young bull has ben bought from a breeder near Alnwick, he'll be used to serve the heifers. We heard on the radio this morning that a vaccine for Schmallenburg has been approved, so we will be trying to get hold of some for the cattle, as these are bulled during the midgy season and are therefore at risk. New vaccines are always expensive, but we will feel stupid if we do nothing and then have problems. The sheds are slowly being mucked out and the mounds of organic muck are growing in the fields along Long Edge. They'll be spread later this year, once they've rotted down to compost, in the meantime they are a useful prop when studying biology/geography GCSE with visiting year 10 and 11 students. Will and I drove up Jawblades bank (the middle road on the farm, between the A691 and Burnhope)last night, to see about 20 calves lying down enjoying the late evening sunshine, like little black blobs on the grass. It was a lovely sight. Strangely all the mothers were in the next field up the hill, usually they leave at least one cow behind to babysit. The calves were in a field called Old Hall. When we moved to the farm in 1992 few of the fields had names, so we set to to with new ones - as it's a lot easier describing where an animal is by field name rather than "the field beyond the field beyond the field with the pond". Some names were more imaginative than others... this one is named after Langley Old Hall, a 13th century ruin hidden away in the privately owned wood opposite (there are just a few stones left) - you can just about see it from the public footpath.


4 June, 2013 at 15:28

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