Hello, and thanks for keeping up to date on the blog!
It’s been cold but sunny with a light breeze, and that means the field have been just about dry enough to work on. We have finally managed to get all the flail topping done! Our fields are actually beginning to look like fields. For those not in the know, a flail topper is a special kind of mower designed to get rid of long grass, brambles, ferns and small saplings. As our fields had been abandoned for so long, brambles and ferns had taken over. This was just the first pass with the flail. Everything has been cut right back to give grass a chance. The brambles and ferns will also start to grow back, but a couple more cuts and some grazing will get rid of them permanently.
As some of our fields are on steep slops it was sometimes quite interesting, especially with the ferns and brambles hiding the actually layout of the ground. Of course, all the rocks were hidden too! The steep fields had to be assessed carefully and a plan of attack made before starting, to make sure I didn’t get caught out taking a turn the wrong way and ending up on the roof! I also walked the fields first to try and spot the biggest rocks. The ferns and brambles could hide sheer drops of more than a meter. You would definitely feel that if you went over it with the tractor. The worst of it is done now though. With the first pass done, all the rocks and drops are now easily visible. The topper will cope much easier too, now that it will have to cut much shorter vegetation. Next, we are going to pass a heavy roller along all the fields, this will make the ground much more even, and speed up topping even more in the future.
With the weather having been so wet this winter I was starting to get frustrated with the lack of progress on the field management side of things, But we are well on the way, the first topping cut being the most difficult task. Although sometimes frustrating (when you keep hitting hidden rocks and have to spend time on the floor changing the cutting tools) flail topping is very rewarding. You get instant results as the topper pulverizes all the rubbish with a very satisfying noise and you are left with an almost perfect pasture. More often than not in farming, you don’t normally get to see results for a year or more. Also as a bonus when topping, the pulverized vegetation acts as a soil enricher as it decomposes and quickly becomes worm food.
On a final note, our YouTube channel has had over a 1000 views, and climbing very fast. The channel has been a bit of an experiment. Getting used to filming, talking on camera, editing, posting etc. I feel we are definitely making progress and the plan is to re-launch the channel as a much more professional entity around September with potentially a new name as well, this time with a lot more animal videos, life on the farm vlogs, etc. We will still have videos of tractors driving around, because as I have said before, they seem to drive a lot of traffic to the channel. It helps that our two tractors are particularly well regarded in the tractor aficionado world. Until September we will continue to produce videos. Some will probably be boring, badly filmed or edited together, but we are learning, ready for a professional channel in the Autumn, so stay tuned and keep watching.
On a final, final note, our blog page on www.joinusonthefarm.com is being moved to our main website at www.elevagejolivet.com. You will notice a slight change of formatting, but more features such as a better “leave a comment” system. The move is simply to bring us up higher on google searches.
So that’s it for this week. Stay awesome, stay in touch.