On Saturday, we pulled into the winter barley expecting to have a full day’s cutting.

With the benefit of hindsight I wasn’t that sure if it was fully ripe but it seemed a pity to hang back with a glorious weekend promised.

We agreed we would do a quick moisture test – it showed 23.4% so the decision was made for us. As I write on Wednesday morning, we have begun cutting at a much more acceptable 20.5%.

I have no idea at this stage what the yield is like but the extra few days will have done no harm in ensuring a fully ripe crop.

As the crop is for the brewing industry, it has had no glyphosate applied and we have the delivery cards ready to go with each load.

I have sold the straw, some for the standard commercial market and a small portion for the equine sector.

Making hay

The hope is that we will follow with a crop of oilseed rape in late August. However the good weather was not wasted.

We got the surplus grass cut, turned, rolled and baled without a drop of rain. We also got to give a dense crop of beans their final spray. I have never had such good establishment in a crop of beans.

Normally this would mean a need for some extra nitrogen and a growth regulator but as the beans are legumes this doesn’t arise. Still, we have given it some extra trace elements and will hope to fully keep disease at bay.

I have found beans, over the years, a difficult crop to judge but this year’s potential seems – at this stage – to be high.

Meanwhile we have sold the first of our grass cattle to the factory or to put it more accurately, the first cattle we have grazed for a portion of the year and then brought in for a brief final finishing period.

They killed out at an average of 335kg which is more or less the same as the shed cattle but with the gain achieved at grass. The amount of concentrate they consumed is less and the net margin should be higher, but I haven’t worked out the figures yet.

We have replaced them with a similar number of stores which hopefully will gain significantly between now and housing.