For all the talk of social media being potentially dangerous and nasty, I find it great for connecting with other farmers. It is not the same as having a chat with a few lads at the mart or local co-op, but it is much better than talking to no one. And that isolation is a real danger these days for farmers. There is more work and less time than ever. Even before COVID-19, how often did you hear someone say, “Sure you’d see no one now.”
So, as long as you do not spend all your time looking at the phone, then social media can be useful for sharing hard-luck stories and seeking first-hand advice on all things related to farming.
I was having a moan last week in an online discussion group about not getting silage cut and baled before the rain. Other farmers sympathised and joked in equal measure. I felt better after they shared their similar experiences. Then, one contributor to the discussion relayed a conversation he had with a neighbour a few years ago, and the insight will stay with me for a long time.
As long as you do not spend all your time looking at the phone, then social media can be useful for sharing hard-luck stories and seeking first-hand advice
This neighbour was considered a “good farmer” but more importantly, he was a nice man. The talk was about silage and cutting at the right time, wilting, tedding etc. The man said he made great silage some years and it did not make him a millionaire, and he made poor silage other years and he did not go broke.
Very obvious when you see it written down, but it is a message that is often missed when we read the latest advice about best practice and striving to be more efficient every year. Of course, everyone should try to reduce waste and farm better, but equally we should not get too anxious if it rains when we want sunshine and stays dry when we want a sup of rain.
At the time of writing, the silage is still standing in the field here. It will be cut and baled when there are a few dry days forecast. As another online farmer said, a little bit of stem in the silage is no harm.The lads cutting so-called rocket fuel are the same ones who’ll be throwing expensive straw in the diet feeders for fibre next winter, he added.
The lads cutting so-called rocket fuel are the same ones who’ll be throwing expensive straw in the diet feeders for fibre next winter
Anyway, that is the feed supply side of things. On the demand side, the yearling cattle continue to do well. Managing grass in front of them is easy compared to when the sheep were here. A reel and a dozen white stakes are all you need for cattle, whereas sheep need the type of fencing you see in a high-security prison. Grazing out paddocks fully is not possible with sheep unless the place is fenced to within an inch of its life.
The last bit of news I have is that the new shed has been started. It will be straw-bedded and is four spans. The man doing the job marked out where the legs will stand last week, but more on that in the next dispatch.