The Year Round: Badgers are keeping themselves busy rooting up pasture

Badgers seem to be at the height of activity at Mill Farm.

They root up the pastures on this high-lying south Pennines grasslands farm. Rain has fallen every day here for a month and, consequently, the grass is growing faster than it has all summer. The cows are looking well and milking well.

We have 12 Holstein/Friesian heifer calves on the bucket with 12 bull calves sold to a friend who takes them on to beef at 10 to 12 hundredweights. They must pay him, otherwise he wouldn't do it.

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Another long-standing arrangement is to buy straw in the field for ourselves and neighbours.

It comes from a Pontefract arable farm, but to date we have only led barley straw, with wheat now ready to cut.

Some of this farmer's fields have good crops with others not so productive.

Winter fodder is in big demand and very scarce, we have shut up several fields, hoping for a second cut.

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Each week we draw off a pen of lambs for the local butcher.

There are 40-42kg live weight and sell for 65-70 each. Sheep have all been clipped. Wool prices are still very low but are forecast to rise, although talk is cheap.

A litter of pigs has been bought. I don't like being without pigs; they eat so much that would otherwise be wasted. When cows are kept there is always milk at the start of lactation that is unsuitable for humans, but welcomed by pigs. Time will tell whether a gilt will be kept for further breeding.

A car wedged itself into one of our roadside stone walls. This sort of damage occurs regularly, but the motorists usually drive away with no acknowledgement. However, the last one was stuck fast and paid for five yards of damaged wall before being released.

I saw the Princess Royal at the Great Yorkshire Show. She certainly appeared to be enjoying herself among huge crowds.

CW 7/8/10

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