It may be difficult to remember silage making time, but our second cut silage is significantly wetter than in 2021.

The most obvious sign was the increased effluent flow through the effluent channels we put in when the farmyard improvement scheme was in operation, which seems a long time ago at this stage.

We have very few cattle indoors - only those who need a few further weeks of final finishing, but it is noticeable how much more silage they are eating with the meal compared with their counterparts last year.

Dry matter

This year, I reckon the dry matter of our second cut is around 26-28% compared to the high 30s last year. Assuming dry matter intake stays constant, then at similar meal intakes, it is not surprising that silage intake should significantly increase.

At the moment, we are getting a typical September flush of grass which we expect to see us through to housing in early November.

On the tillage side, we are consciously slightly delaying the sowing of the winter barley.

I am conscious as I have mentioned before that in our rotation, winter barley is going in at the most vulnerable stage for take-all: the crop after first wheat and early sowing, depending on the weather conditions certainly stimulates take-all as well as barley yellow dwarf virus.

We had both in the harvest just gone by and we paid a price in terms of yield and quality. While I hate delaying sowing when conditions are suitable, there is little point in asking for problems.


The post-harvest stubble cultivation has left a lovely tilth in the fields intended for the winter barley.

If it was winter wheat I would have no hesitation in opting for directly drilling into the stubble but I am reluctant to try it in the case of winter barley, so we will stick with conventional ploughing.

Meanwhile, we finished up the beans during the dry spell last week. At the end of the day we got about 2.6t/ac - acceptable but well below the 3t/ac a neighbour rang to tell me about!

The next job during the fine weather is to get the herbicide out on the oilseed rape.

And so the cycle begins again.