Wow where do I start, October has been one of the busiest months on the farm I can ever remember!

The silage season finally came to an end at the beginning of the month with Dodson Agricultural contractors in full force cutting our maize silage and cutting and making the last of our grass silage. Both clamps now have enough silage in to see us through the winter which is always a relief to a farmer as we can never take anything for granted.

On the arable(cropping) side of the farm, Ben discovered he had got some patience and waited for a spell of better weather to get stuck in to drilling all next year’s crops. With a massive effort he managed to get everything drilled in one week and those crops are now growing well with Blackgrass being the main problematic weed of the season but I am delighted to report that so far slugs are not an issue this year. We have crops of Wheat, Oats and Grass to look forward to next year and we can only hope the weather throughout the growing season is more favourable than it was this year! My very grateful thanks to Ben who somehow manages to fit all of this work around his schooling.

The sheep have enjoyed a good autumn and the boys are all out now doing their bit, all being well we have two lambing periods to look forward to, one at the end of January and the other will be outdoor lambing in April. Both indoor and outdoor lambing having their pros and cons so we will be assessing the situation before next year tupping to see what worked best.

On the cattle side it has been a hugely exciting month. Firstly, I am delighted to welcome Jimmy MacMillan to our work force as our new herd manager. For anyone that saw our programme last winter on BBC 1 you will have heard me comment on the people I most respect in our industry and I described Jimmy then as a Legend as far as stockmen go. Well little did I know I would be so fortunate to have the opportunity to employ him and I would like to welcome both Jimmy and Kath to Sacombe and I certainly know our cows will be treated like royalty.

Jimmy has spent the last 11 years of his career as Stockman for a herd of Simmentals in Gloucestershire and sadly they were dispersed by their owner in October. They were sold at the world-famous bull sales in Stirling in Scotland and two of the cows smashed the previous breed record prices. All the herd were bred by Jimmy and were a credit to him. 

We have been breeding Simmentals for 47 years have not added any females to our herd other than home bred in over 40 years but such was the quality of the Sterling herds females that we took the opportunity to invest in three new females for our herd to give us new bloodlines to see us well on our way towards our 50th Year. Cairo and Eloise are the two cows we purchased and then after a fierce bidding contest we purchased the new Breed Record priced female, a young heifer called Hawaii who is simply exceptional. As last year we will be having another open day on the farm for everyone to come and view the cows and we will certainly show you these new girls.

So with a week or so’s building works to complete on the main cattle shed we can then move into a hopefully steadier time on the farms to give us a month to think about turkeys!!

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