Thursday, 21 March 2013

Under achievement of output big style

I read the Farmers Weekly, ov read it all me life,
Read it in the good times, and read it through the strife,
In its words and pictures, brings us all the news,
Tells us of our leaders, n' tells us of their views.

This farm could double its output and produce food for human consumption and help to stave off shortages, but then it's only when we have shortages that we get a realistic price. We can't win which ever way we go.
In the late nineteen fifties the Church Farm buildings were home to forty two dairy cows, and about thirty young stock of varying ages, plus one stock bull.

The old house, half timbered, old hand made tiles on the roof

These were supported on ninety six acres, made up of forty five acres of permanent pasture and meadow land. The remaining land was either three to five year grass leys rotated with corn and root crops plus kale. The older grass leys would be ploughed out and winter wheat planted the rotation then following the wheat would be planted to turnips, mangols, and kale. Following on the year after it would be barley under sown to a grass ley again.

The night pasture for the dairy cows was through the gate at the bottom of the yard and across the sleeper bridge over the Millian Brook. Day pastures were down the road and through the ford (although most preferred to queue up and cross the foot bridge), then up the Moor Lane.
 Here there was the Gravely bank, the Hazel Graze, the Moor cover field and below that was the Iron Dole. All these fields were on the right hand side of the lane. On the left side was the three Ash Pits Fields, then on down to this side of the railway bridge was the Pingles on the right and the Fosters on the left. Over the bridge was thirty acres of river meadows, on the uneven meadows the young stock would spend the summer, the rest would be mown for hay.
In the autumn the barn should have two bays of hay and two bays of corn in sheaves (this was before combines came to this area).

Deliveries of cattle food were unloaded directly into the loft; roots, hay & straw were dropped into the "Pop hole" below. The roof on the left of the picture was the double cowshed where it held twenty six cows

At the far end of the stack yard (from the "pop" hole) up the road side the mangols were stored and covered over to protect them from frost. Kale and turnips were harvested daily and fed up until Christmas then the through to spring it was the stored mangols.
On the right just through the yard gate was the main byre, where twenty six cows were tied up for milking, it was a modern shed at that time having thirteen up each side. In winter they would stay in over night, and on cold wet winter day brought in again for days as well after a spell of exercise. In front of the cows was a fodder bing where the cows could be fed from the front with hay and mangols, access to these passages was from either end.

The Turnip Shed 1960. This shed had a pop hole into the stack yard where the root crop could be tipped down into the shed and shoveled into the pulper seen here, and bales of straw and hay were brought in that way for feeding the cows.
At the bottom of the yard a door led into a stable for three shires horses. Next door up was a small loose box sometimes used as a bull pen. The third door was a cowshed for four cows and the corner door was cowshed for three cows. The large shed on the right housed twenty six dairy cows. The Rota Spreader hooked to the tractor parked under a lip of concrete so muck could be pushed directly into it.

The second shed down from the road side was the engine shed where the milking pump was situated and the mill for grinding the corn, and in the third was a cowshed for three cows. the fourth for four cows A door out onto the yard took you down some long steps to a very narrow loose box where the bull was often kept, then the bottom large door was the stable for three shires. With horses having gone out of fashion the stalls were removed and then was used as a loose box for rearing calves.

Along the bottom of the yard was a low tile roofed shed for nine cows, these being a bit spread out from the other cows, it was often filled with dry cows, and eased the amount of walking about with the milking buckets. Up the yard adjoining that shed was two more loose boxes for young stock, and more recently, the top one was converted into a purpose built bull pen.

Along the top of the yard behind the house is three cart shed then the garage for the car and a large loose box, and at the end under the old yew tree was the work mans loo with the wooden seat over a bucket.
In the centre of the yard was the midden as in all farm yards locally. The sheds could be cleaned out all winter and only a short way to wheel it. On frosty days the muck ruck would be shifted and spread on the next years root ground. Now in the drawing it was modernized so muck went out every day in the muck spreader.

In 1985 Church farm land was amalgamated to adjacent farms and the house and building sold. With the ever decreasing numbers of people working on farms, village centre farms became unviable. Cattle needed to be herded out to pasture each day and back for evening milking along the village roads.
At its height there were six herds on the roads of the village between the time of 8 and 9am and again between 3.30 and 5.30pm over 200 dairy cows altogether. There was a cowman for each herd plus at least one helper, twelve men (Today 200 is a one man job), then the Wagoner (or tractor driver as he was latterly known) would do all the off yard jobs. All the cottages in the village were tied to a particular farm and one next to the school was tied to the blacksmiths shop.

So it was after twenty five years at Church Farm we moved a hundred yard up to Yews Farm. This was two hundred and fifty acres but not suitable for a dairy unit, or should I say not suitable to extend the dairy cows beyond forty or so cows. This was when we went over to suckler cows and grew quite a lot of cereals, twenty five years on again most of the land is in one stewardship scheme or other, we produce no wheat or barley, and part of the arable land we have a contractor who ploughs , works, and plants maize which is then chopped by a neighbouring farmer for his dairy herds winter feed.

In younger hands and a bit of encouragement from the government to produce food, this farm could double it output and produce food for human consumption again and help to stave off shortages, but then its only when we have shortages that we get a realistic price. We can't win which ever way we go.

I Read the Farmers Weekly

I read the Farmers Weekly, ov read it all me life,
Read it in the good times, and read it through the strife,
In its words and pictures, brings us all the news,
Tells us of our leaders, n' tells us of their views.

As kids we run and grabbed it, when it first arrives,
Four of us to read it, tis a wonder it survives,
It was mainly the pictures, that we liked to read,
When father picks it up, all dog eared from stampede.

The latest farm machinery, with up to date designs,
Tested on the fields and farms, n' way up steep inclines,
Powerful engines high horse power, bigger wheels to match,
Bigger ploughs and implements', and see they're up to scratch.

New foreign breeds of cattle, brought from round the world,
To compliment our native stock, at shows new flags unfurled,
Almost every year a new breed, a new cattle line to report,
The country where it's coming from, how many to import.

New sprays new seeds new ways to sow, all on test for us,
To make a better judgment, n' how to combat fun-gus,
Some are good some not quite so, its in the fields they test,
Reported in the Farmers Weekly, n' tell us which is best.

For me it's gone full circle, they've got it all on line,
Can read all what's been written, to new medium consign,
The paper one it still come through, tradition here to stay,
The good old Farmers Weekly, the farming news relay.

Countryman (Owd Fred)