Earlier this month we hosted a farm walk for a group of post grad students from the RAU, who came to discuss diverse and sustainable farming. With hawthorn hedging in full flower and bathed in sunshine the farm looked a picture. A good healthy discussion was had by all.
Busy Bank Holiday Weekend
We had a busy bank holiday weekend at Honeydale. As part of our rotation, we’ve sown an enhanced wild bird seed mix, with an increased variety of species to make it more productive as a fertility builder - so we’re feeding the soil as well as the farmland birds!
In the strip next to it, we sowed this years herbal ley with buckwheat to act as a nurse crop in the hot weather, and to increase the phosphate levels. We’re experimenting to find the optimum sowing rate and sowed the buckwheat at a rate of 8kg/acre (20kg/ha) which is lower than last year.
The seedbed conditions were perfect with an excellent tilth. We used the Cambridge roller before sowing both mixes. The wild birdseed mix was sown and then Cambridge rolled again to prevent capping, and the heavy flat roller was used after the herbal ley seed mix. The flat roller provides more consolidation but can lead to capping, so it’s a case of swings and roundabouts.
We also set up two mob-grazing sites, with electric fencing and water, for an anthelmintic experiment that’s being run on the farm by Nicola Smith from Aberystwyth University. Nicola is studying for an MA and works for the Organic Research Centre and National Sheep Association and is collecting data on herbal leys as natural wormers.
The sheep were also shorn this weekend, which has nothing at all to do with the experiment, but will help them to keep cool in the hot weather!