Earlier this week the very last of the beef cattle we have for the Summer went home.
Our farm, now that the farmer is semi-retired, is basically divided into three parts. One part, Summer grass, is rented out to our neighbouring dairy farmer from April to October; another part, pasture, is rented out to our neighbouring beef cattle farmer and the third part we keep for silage, both to sell (first crop) and to keep for winter (second crop) when we house dairy cattle in calf for our neighbour. (and feed them)
Now apart from some sheep which we over-winter, all our fields are empty of stock. The farmer is pleased about this because the land is very wet at the moment after days of thick, damp fog. Some of the grass is very long and you could be forgiven for thinking it is a shame that the beast have not been able to eat if off before they go inside for the winter. But the fact is that at this time of the year, although the grass grows well, there is very little nutriment in the grass and cattle left in the fields eating just grass begin to lose condition.
So there we are. Empty fields. Now next week the farmer can hire a very large 'muck spreader' for the day and empty the well rotted manure from our loose housing and make a heap in one of the vacated fields. Then he will fill the loose housing with deep straw, clean out the water trough and get the whole place all ready for the day when our neighbour announces that he has some pregnant dairy cows ready to come in.
And so the cycle of the farming year goes on.