Over the Farmers Hedge – March 2013

Crops

The weather has been against us in past few months leading to poor crop growth. Oilseed rape established sufficiently before autumn, whereas the wheat has struggled. We were forced to plant late, in poor conditions and, apart from a brief spell around Christmas, it has been cold and wet since. With the additional presence of slugs and very hungry pigeons, we have rarely seen a worse year. Some of the wheat at Lacies and Dumpling Farms may have to be re-drilled with spring crops.

The brief dry patch late February allowed drilling of sugar beet at Whitehill on the lighter, drier land of Shelford. Meanwhile the remaining 2.5 hectares of last year’s sugar beet crop at Trumpington Hall failed make it out of the ground at all because it was too wet for the harvesting machinery. Like everyone else we hope for warmth and an end to the rain for spring.

Wildlife

Two or three kingfishers have been spotted fishing on the Cam at the meadow below The Red Lion recently and a Little owl has been seen in a perfect looking hole in one of the trees in the meadow alongside Broadway. There are very good numbers of snipe on Trumpington Fen, which a local bird group have been ringing for research purposes. In addition a pair of little eagrets has been seen together with numerous pairs of noisily nest building herons at Paradise Island in Newnham.

Livestock

The regular Red Poll cattle are due back on the Meadows at the end of March or early April and a new batch of young female sheep will be visiting Trumpington Fen, across from the Meadows prior to breeding.

Estate

The first cut of mature cricket bat willows happened last month with 30 (around a third of the crop) being harvested and replaced with whips. The wet ground condition has prevented harvest of the willow coppice which are now beginning to shoot new growth.

Events

Our next neighbours farm walk will take place in the early evening, 6pm, on Friday April 19th. The ‘walk’ will again take the form of a tractor and trailer ride around Cantelupe Farm and Trumpington Fen showing the latest developments on the Estate, discussing crops, wildlife and farming methods with David Knott, General Manager and Richard Pemberton. Spaces will be limited to 25 in the trailer, children welcome, please register your interest at info@trumpingtonestate.com . We have a trailer suitable for elderly neighbours.

Your comments and questions are welcome at www.trumpingtonestate.com

Richard, David, Debbie and all the team at Trumpington Farm Company

 

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