Archive for Farming

A New Hedge on the Pelynt Footpath

A year ago, together with other landowners bordering the road between Trelawne and Pelynt, we gave over land so that the parish could create a footpath into the village. The path was created last March, the work unfortunately involved the destruction of the flora growing on top of the hedge as this was moved a couple of metres or so into the field, thus creating safe footpath along the road.  The contractors FJ Ede, did a lovely job reseeding and today the hedge is lush and green. However the top looked a little bare. This year Pelynt Parish Council very kindly allocated a small budget with which we purchased 200 hedgerow plants. These were planted just before Easter and given time they will look lovely.

Unfortunately, during the planting we cleaned a couple of black bin bags of rubbish out of both sides of the hedge, including a not insignificant number of glass bottles, some broken. Such a pity that those walking this path, and driving the road for that matter, do not consider the consequences of these actions. For them its “just” litter, but for us its a major and very real hazard as the field is grazed. Broken glass is a HUGE problem for livestock as lacerated hooves are a major problem and very hard to treat. Even more frightening  is the possibility of glass, broken or otherwise, getting into their mouths, virtually impossible to remedy if it happens.

Lets just hope that this never happens, that the hedge grows quickly and prevents litter debris from unthinking individuals reaching the field.

Meanwhile here are some pictures of the new hedge.

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Orchard Management and Restoration Course 2012

Jacquie, Les and I had all been watching the weather with trepidation. Last year we invented the sport of  Extreme Orchard Pruning during the course and the biblical conditions in the South West were promising another December of epic pruning.

The day arrived and with it the a beautiful, sunny crisp morning. A flood of last minute bookings (pun definitely intended) meant that we were full with 16 participants and all were eager to pick up a pair of secateurs and get cutting.  We used hot tea and biscuits to quell the excitement and add a little knowledge, in the shape of Les’ very entertaining lecture in The Library, before proceeding to the Orchard.

Jane, one of neighbours and a prolific blogger has written  a great report of the day

Orchard Management Course at Trenderway Farm We were delighted to receive a whole load of comments in the post this morning, and have to join in with the compliments for Les Davies, a truly superb teacher and raconteur. We look forward to this week every year, Les makes the hard work of pruning the orchard a pleasure and keeps reassuring us that we are doing OK!

 

“Such a fantastic and informative couple of days, seeing all ages and stages of apples, from grafting to early pruning techniques. Great fun and learnt LOADS! Thanks Les.”  (Jane)

 

“Informative and enjoyable course due to Les’s humour and knowledge!” (Nick).

 

“Really great course. I didn’t know anything about pruning, but now I feel BOLD!!!” (Clare).

“Worth doing the course if you are not even interested in pruning. Les is a legend!! Obviously            very knowledgeable and knows his business inside out”. (Alan).

“Totally worth the 2 days taken off of work. Les is great and a fountain of knowledge, and he’s contactable afterwards”.  (Sean)

“So much more than I expected, especially all the ‘hands on’ work. Les made it all very enjoyable and Yaron and Jaquie made the best hosts”. (Elaine).

“Les has made this fascinating course extremely worthwhile. He is a mine of practical advice and a fund of anecdotes. We have been made really welcome by our engaging hosts Jaquie and Yaron on their fabulous farm”. (Monica)

Orchard Management Course at Trenderway Farm DSC_9806

Mob grazing day with EBLEX

Mob grazing, good for the grass, good for the land and good for our cows.

Back in 2009 we attended a PASA Conference in the USA and were introduced to the concept of Mob or High Density Grazing. Blown away by the idea of using our animals to manage the land and the evidence produced by one of the speakers, Greg Judy, we returned home filled with enthusiasm and ready to try something new.

Mob Graziers are a cross between organic and permaculture farmers. They attempt to manage they grazing patterns of their livestock so that it mimics those of the vast herds of wild ruminants grazing the African plains. The results are incredible, significant increase in organic matter in the top soil, deep rooting grass and other meadow species that break compaction layers and aerate the soils. Probably the most incredible effect is the awakening of the seed banks dormant in meadows that have been seeded with short term commercial leys – thats grass seeds, predominantly Rye grasses, that have fairly short lives.

This concept is followed by a small but growing number of livestock farmers in the UK and now its getting attention, with Dr Liz Genever from EBLEX presenting the speakers at a series of events and Farmers Weekly writing about it.

At Trenderway we have been grazing our cattle using electric fencing to control the grazing density since 2009. We have not used any mineral inputs (fertiliser) or reseeded and do not intend to. Our cattle stay out all winter and are fed entirely on grass, with occasional “treats”. They are healthy, evidenced by our Herdsure status, and happy too.

A New Pedigree South Devon Heifer born this morning

As one Marathon starts another ends!

This morning as we watched the runners gathering for the London Marathon our own marathon calf watch ended. GrannieAnne our “old girl” that had kept us guessing for the last 5 weeks finally calved.

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>The South Devon Herd Arrive

> Monday 23rd June: South Devon Cattle return to Trenderway Farm.
The first of our South Devons are off loaded into their new home. “Pretty brown cows” as my mother called them.

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