Berkshire Farm Girl Eleanor Gilbert looked forward to a good harvest earlier this summer
Eleanor Gilbert is on a mission – she wants to educate people about farming in the 21st century.
The summer has arrived. The clocks have gone forward, the lambs are out, summer is underway.
With harvest just around the corner, farmers are patiently monitoring crops for weed control, fertilizer needs and other pest management practices.
In preparation for the busiest time of year – harvest – we have set to cleaning out our grain stores.
The lasts of 2020’s wheat was moved off the farm (to the millers ready to be made into flour) leaving our sheds clear.
We then proceeded to dust everything down, check for vermin and lay sticky traps to inspect the grain for insects.
If a high insect threshold is detected then the entire grain store will be sprayed using insecticide, in order to prevent any infestation in the grain.
Furthermore moisture meters are calibrated to laboratory test standards to ensure continuity of stored grain and/ or drying.
Since being away at university, harvest preparation has begun with all tractors, trailers and equipment having a pre-harvest check to make sure all are in safe working condition, ready for harvest 2021 to commence.
It is vital that all equipment is checked and running at peak performance, because we can’t afford the stopping time during the harvest to fix faults.
There are more than 300 tyres on the entire harvest fleet that all need pressure, tread and damage inspection pre-harvest, which will also continue as part of our daily safety examination before we leave the yard in the morning.
While completing my first year studying Agriculture and Crop Management at Harper Adams University, I have been finalising my last few pieces of course work, finishing lectures and completing open book exams, known as TOBAS (Times Open Book Assessments).
Due to Covid-19, we sit TOBAS which are to replace exams, allowing us to complete them in our own space in a given time frame.
It sure has been an unusual year for both students and lectures with half teaching online and half in person, as well as a restricted social life.
We have had a dry cold spring with a record number of frosts followed by one of the wettest Mays seen for a number of years.
Many farmers breathed a sigh of relief to see the rain, as the ongoing dry spell was beginning to have an effect on the crop growth.
There is an old saying: rain in May will fill the sheds with corn and hay. This we hope will be true for the year.
Look out for me in my new John Deere 6155r all black special edition, extremely rare and unusual tractor this harvest.
I hope you all have a lovely summer, look out and give me a wave if you see the black tractor.
Find out how the harvest went in Out&About magazine, out on September 9.