Autumn field ploughed and seed sown

The Year on the Farm – month by month

A guide to what you might see on a farm durring the year.

This is a rough guide to what you might see on the farm. This varies greatly according to location, season and soil type.

If there is something missing, or inaccurate, please contact me. The main inaccuracy is that farming is not really like the calendar year. The start of the farming year is often regarded as being September or October. Harvest is in, winter crops are sown or being sown and the farm is being prepared for winter. Stock brought closer to the farm or into barns to protect the soil and for ease of feeding. The soil starts to sleep, ready to awaken in spring.

On the farm in January

It is a time for general farm maintenance such as hedging, tree planting, ditch and drainage clearance and fencing. Other ongoing repairs.

Sheep are in lower pastures and being given additional feed such as hay, beets, Wurzells and Sheep nuts.

Calves are weaned at end of the month and fed on concentrates and sugar beet. Cows loafing close to or within Barns helps protect the pasture from compaction and trampling, and there is little or no plant growth.

It is a time for manure and slurry spreading, especially hay and silage fields.

Find out more about January events, activities food and nature

On the farm in February

More general farm maintenance such as hedging, tree planting, ditch and drainage clearance and fencing. Other ongoing repairs.

Sheep are in the lower pastures. Sheep brought into shelter for pregnancy scanning and housing against the weather.

Livestock being given additional feed (hay, beets, sheep nuts/cattle cake).

Muck and slurry spreading continues

Early seed drilling, Peas & Beans. Resow of failed Winter crops or crops that were not sown in Autumn.

Find out more about February events, activities food and nature

On the farm in March

Sheep are sorted into lambing groups (according to the number of lambs expected) and the feeding of concentrates begins. Lambing begins – a 24-hour operation. Breeding ewes vaccinated. Ewes feet trimmed against footrot.

Calving gets underway.

Muck spreading continues.

Fertilise and spray crops including Liquid fertiliser applied to potato fields. Top dress cereals.

Sowing Sugar Beet.

Find out more about March events, activities food and nature

On the farm in April

Potatoes, peas, and beans are being planted.

Fertilising grass production fields to boost yield for silage,

Cereal crops sprayed with pesticides and top dressed with fertiliser.

Calving in full swing, with the lambing ending. Calves are tagged for identity purposes and registered. Lambs turned out – vigilance needed with Crows and foxes.

Gimmer hoggs dosed against worms and dipped

Find out more about April events, activities food and nature

On the Farm in May

All lambs tailed, castrated, ear-notched and ear-tagged. Shear the long tails of the sheep to prevent flystrike i.e. flies laying their eggs in the wool and producing maggots that eat into the sheep.

Stock is removed from silage fields and fertiliser is spread to allow six weeks of growth before cutting. Clean out all livestock buildings.

Fencing and walling repairs.

Crops Fertilised. Spray potatoes, beets, peas, beans and cereals.

Find out more about May events, activities food and nature

On the farm in June

Sheep shearing and Routine sheep work (drenching for worms, foot bathing, etc).

Spring-born calves are de-horned.

Haymaking and Silaging.

Irrigate potatoes to encourage growth and ‘filling out’. Irrigation of other crops as required (especially market garden crops).

Find out more about June events, activities food and nature

On the Farm in July

Harvest begins. Oilseed rape (Canola), winter barley and wheat.

Sheep shearing. Lambs are given worm dose vaccinations and footbaths.

Haymaking & Silaging.

Irrigate potatoes to encourage growth and ‘filling out’. Irrigation of other crops as required (especially market garden crops).

Spray potatoes.

Baling and carting straw or straw chopped fine and left.

Find out more about July events, activities food and nature

On the Farm in August

Harvest. The harvest is now in full swing, and on good dry days can almost be a 24-hour operation. As the crop ripens farmers will be looking for optimum moisture content in the grain. Too damp and it will need to be machine dried, a very expensive procedure, too dry, and money is lost as the yield weight will be lighter. All the talk is about the yield.

There may still be the taking of silage, and in some places hay. This year’s young cattle and sheep gaining size fast. Animals rotate around fields following regrowth after cropping or place onto downlands following shearing.

Some fields are already being ploughed and sown with this year’s winter crops of Barley, Wheat and oilseed. Some may have been undersown with other crops such as grass or green manure crops to help bind the soil after harvest and improve fertility naturally. The ground may be harrowed to open it up to allow rain to soak in rather than run off – invaluable with the threat of thunderstorms.

The colours changing from the greens of early summer to a golden glow.

Find out more about August events, activities food and nature

On the Farm in September

Harvest continues at full pace, remaining barley and wheat being cut. Straw bailed and removed or shredded in situ.

Whether lambs are sold as they finish or as store lambs for further fattening. Preparation for gimmer and draft ewe sales. Wean lambs.

Harvest Potatoes. Start harvest of beets.

Ploughing and harrowing (disc harrowing to quickly open compacted soil to reduce water runoff in heavy rains).

Drill oilseed rape, winter wheat and barley.

Find out more about September events, activities food and nature

On the Farm in October

Continued sheep maintenance, dipping and clipping about the rear.

Calves are weaned and cattle are fed.

Potatoes and beets harvested. Last of wheat harvested if wet or late harvest.

Maize harvested for silage.

Ploughing and harrowing continue as does the setting of winter cereals.

Corn sales and transport – either to factors or stored locally.

Find out more about October events, activities food and nature

On the Farm in November

Grass deteriorates in quality and will stop growing soon.

Tup sales.

House cows. Feed livestock. Male calves castrated before the onset of frost.

Ploughing and continued late drilling of wheat and barley.

Find out more about November events, activities food and nature

On the Farm in December

Ploughing.

Feeding of livestock. Continued daily livestock work.

A time general farm maintenance such as hedging, tree planting, ditch and drainage clearance and fencing. Other ongoing repairs.

Spray cereals.

Find out more about December events, activities food and nature

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