Thursday, 9 August 2018

Cultivations

We seem to be dropping into a two week weather cycle now. Since my last posting we have had another fortnight of sweltering hot and sunny weather which broke down a day ago with a brief storm. As I write this, today is forecast to be very wet all day although it has yet to start, but we remain in hope.
The harvest is coming to a close now, with just the bales to be collected off the fields and stored in outside stacks or in barns.

These corn straw bales illustrate the way that cereal straw tends to be baled here on Sheppey, while the rape straw is baled in large square bales.

 One of the large rape stubble fields left after harvesting, note the dust dry soil.

In my last post I mentioned how dry sewerage material is collected by the farmers and spread as a manure, well below is a second by-product material that is currently being spread across the stubble fields, prior to cultivations. It is gypsum from a local plasterboard factory and can help clay soils, such as we have, stay more open and viable.

 Here you see stubbles having the top few inches of the soil broken up prior to later seed sowing, these were rape stubbles that will later be sown with wheat, or possibly barley. Note the dust from the dry ground following the tractor.

The game shooting season is only a couple of months away and this week saw the first arrival of several thousand young pheasants that will be introduced to numerous pens around the marsh. They have access to and from the pens via small openings and spend a lot of the day foraging nearby before going back into the pens at night to be safe from the local foxes.

16 comments:

  1. Those fields do look dry. We experienced a terrific thunderstorm during the night. It was exciting, to say the least. Big flashes of lightning with the thunder coming ever sooner on the heels of the flashes as the storm bore down on us. The storm finally passed over us but it is still raining. Up to 4.3 inches as of 7:00AM and still drizzling. It feels cool, relatively speaking, at 78F (25.5C). I am drinking a cup of tea and have on my fuzzy slippers. Hope your rain comes soon and steadily.

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  2. Since I wrote this post it has been lashing down with rain for 4 hours and looks set for a few more hours. It's also cold.

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  3. Pheasant shoots, in my experience, have always been associated with wooded coverts and undulating countryside; beit in Hertfordshire or Kent. To see that Sheppey has game shooting in such un-familiar countryside is a real eye opener. I'd always thought of the marshes as the realm of wildfowler and rough shooter, not driven game. I do hope that there is a wildlife spin-off from these released pheasants? Game cover and fallow fields supporting finches, buntings and sparrows during the winter months and also providing hunting opportunities for the famed Sheppey harrier population. Glad you've got some rain - it's lashing it down here as I type!
    Take care - Dyl

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  4. Dylan,
    About 25 yrs ago the two major land owners/farmers on Harty begun planting up new hedgerows, spinneys, wooded areas and have cover strips and wild flowers strips round some arable fields. This was done to better the game shooting prospects, which is big business there now and of course to better their subsidy ratings. As a result the Harty farmland is far better for wildlife now than it ever was 30 yrs ago - still get far more crop spraying than I'd like but we can't have everything.

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  5. When I lived on the farm I always saw the arrival of the pheasant poults as a sign that Autumn was on its way. Hope you now get a few days of good steady rain Derek.

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  6. Today Pat we had seven hours good steady rain, heavy at times, the most rain since June 1st

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  7. Rugby? Cricket? Football? Golf? No sport can compare with pheasant shooting. The sporting ability of pheasant shooters is legendary.

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  8. I wouldn't call it a sport, more a leisure pursuit and no worse than scattering net-fulls of fish on the deck of a boat and letting them slowly die out of the water, or battery chickens producing eggs, or chickens being killed in their thousands for meat after just a few months of life.

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  9. Derek, can I contact you via email?

    U

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    1. You make me smile: Of course there is a reason. A good one. Let's just say, in the name of discretion, I'd rather keep what I'd like to convey to you private. If you don't wish to publish your email address here, I take it you have got mine (by my commenting here) so you can let me know that way.

      Greetings to Sheppey,
      U

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  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  11. Sorry Ursula but my E-Mail address will not be supplied.

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    1. That's ok. Wishing you all the best. One piece of advice if I may: Don't try to make the unhinged see reason. In the comment boxes of one "extraordinary" blog you behaved (and responded) - not for the first time - like the gentleman you are.

      U

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  12. Thank you Ursula, your advice is noted. Goodbye and good luck.

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