Farming on the Plain

Harvesting Grass for Silage at Upper Farm, Milston - 13.05.19


The Parsons Family have started to harvest some grass for silage at Upper Farm, Milston.


The farm grows a lot of grass for silage and hay to feed their animals through the winter months.  


This crop is a high-sugar ryegrass mix, drilled in the autumn. 


These grass crops are now quite common and can provide several cuts of quality silage.


They are very fast growing and are usually only cropped for up to five years, before cereals or oilseed rape would likely be grown on a rotation.

 

Sheep Shearing - Chisenbury


These photographs were taken during the week at Chisenbury.

 

Ablington Farm - Spring Cultivations - 10.03.19


These photographs were taken near Bourne Bottom on Salisbury Plain.  Brothers, Rob and George Rawlins from Ablington Farm were out over the weekend cultivating, prior to drilling spring barley before the weather changes.

 

Haxton Farm - 18.01.19


Whilst out and about on Salisbury Plain near Coombe Down, Mr Lamont and  his staff were seen spreading farm yard manure onto a field, in preparation for ploughing, cultivation and planting of spring crops.


As can be seen in the photographs, in minus temperatures  the rotted manure has reached quite a high temperature, while it was heaped out on the land, over the winter.

 

Piglets - 14.12.18


These photographs were taken on Salisbury Plain at sunrise, it was minus 2.

 

Young piglets waiting to be let out into the wide world.

 

Ablington Farm - 30.11.18


Rob Rawlins is seen here spreading new straw bedding into the pens, where the young cattle will be for the winter months.  This is now carried out using a straw spreading machine, that chops and throws  a whole large bale of straw into the covered area, in seconds.  This has saved hours of labour.

 

This was followed by Rob with a mixer and feeder, supplying the young cattle with their breakfast.

 

Haxton Farm - 23.11.18


Mr Lamont, The Farmer at Haxton Farm, Netheravon, was topping an area where the cattle have grazed and he is removing the rogue vegetation, which the cattle have not eaten.  He is also  using a set of harrows to level out areas damaged by a recent tank exercise.

 

Haxton Farm - 23.10.18


Cultivating and drilling at Haxton Farm, Netheravon.

 

Bishopstone - 19.10.18

 

A Farmer in Bishopstone near Salisbury spraying stubble prior to cultivation.

Chalke Valley, South Wiltshire - 10.10.18


From the hilltops high above the valley, the farmers can be seen planting next years crops before the weather changes.

Pertwood Organic Farm - 10.10.18

 

Many people are unaware about the wider benefits of organic farming.  At Pertwood it is evident to all who visit.  The farm has an extraordinarily high variety and number of wild birds, animals and flowers compared to its non organic neighbours. This has been proven in a Biodiversity Audit and is testament to its long organic history, plus the farm goes further than simply avoiding pesticide and artificial fertiliser use.

 

Here are just a few examples of good practice:

  • purposefully leave areas of winter seed supplies by not ploughing in crop stubbles over winter
  • sew wildflower bird seed mixes into large areas to significantly add to wild birds food resources
  • leave some areas fallow for ground nesting birds. These are in areas which they are known to like!
  • reintroduced permanent grassland to areas which were previously ploughed in order to protect historical features such as a Roman Road. Without this reversion these features could be lost entirely
  • graze the farm's ancient down land with native rare breeds, because of a belief in the conservation of genetic resources

At Lower Pertwood, the aim is to secure an environment which reflects the past, as well as servicing the present and looking after the future.

Ablington Farm - September 2018

 

A further visit to the farm found the Farmers clearing the field of rye grass and red clover.

 

Ablington Farm - September 2018

 

These photographs show an area of rye grass with red clover being grown as a greening crop.  Leys are usually established for two or three years and form a basic part of many organic field, vegetable and arable rotations.

 

Where animals are present on the farm, the leys would usually be grazed or cut for silage.  Such leys may be pure clover (when nitrogen fixation is a priority) or a grass/clover mixture (when organic matter build up is also important).  Red or white clover and ryegrass are key species.


This crop was planted in October 2017 and could not be cut until after 1st July 2018, as it is classed as a conservation area.  The first cut was made and collected in the first week of July and these photographs show the second crop being harvested.

 

Haxton Farm - July 2018

 

While taking photographs of Mr Lamont harvesting, I noticed a collection of buzzards out hunting behind the combine.

Upper Farm Milston - May 2018

 

The Parsons Family have the Rawlins Family helping to harvest some grass for silage at Upper Farm Milston.  The farm grows a lot of grass for silage and hay to feed their animals through the winter months.

 

This crop is a high-sugar rye grass mix, drilled in the autumn.  These grass crops are now quite common and can provide several cuts of quality silage.  They are very fast growing and are usually only cropped for up to five years, before cereals or oilseed rape would likely be grown, on a rotation.

 

Ablington Farm

 

International 956XL owned by the Rawlins Family. 

 

The International 956XL tractor is quite capable of towing the Conventional Pick up Baler and Sledge.

 

This picture was taken at Syrencot on the old airfield on Salisbury Plain.

 

The tractor is over 33 years old and comes out on occasions and is quite a special sight.  They are often seen at shows but not used on a daily working basis.

These two almost identical tractors are numbers 1 and 27 of the limited edition Diamond McCormick International tractors, see the information below from the Yorkshire Post 2006

 

These two shown are used daily and are seen here transporting the grain back to the farm.

 

I did many years ago visit the International factory, where these tractors would have been built, as my Aunt who has now sadly passed away, used to work in the Factory canteen feeding the staff.

 

The limited edition tractors were produced by McCormick to celebrate 60 years of agricultural equipment production at its Doncaster headquarters.  Just 60 examples each of the 102hp CX105 and 152hp MTX150 Diamond Edition commemorative tractors became available to UK farmers.

 

They have a one-off specification, which includes a special silver and dark grey paint scheme, a chromium plated exhaust heat shield and silver-highlighted steering wheel in addition to an enhanced package of standard equipment.  The tractors were delivered with a numbered commemorative certificate proving their authenticity and provenance.

 

They could be of particular value in years to come judging by the way that past special edition tractors from the 1970s and 80s are now eagerly sought by enthusiasts.

 

The company's international sales director, Simeone Morra, saidat the time: "We're very proud of the McCormick heritage and the Doncaster factory's historical role in the agricultural engineering industry and felt this was an anniversary that should be marked in some way.  Making available to UK farmers just 60 examples each of the CX and MTX Diamond Edition tractors is an appropriate number that also guarantees a certain rarity value."

 

Production of agricultural equipment at the Wheatley Hall Road factory started in 1946.  At first it produced agricultural implements such as mowers, balers, ploughs and cultivators to help farmers continue the magnificent efforts they made to increase food production.  Three years later the factory started assembling McCormick-International tractors.

When Roadless Traction Ltd went bankrupt in 1983, L.F. Jewell bought the manufacturing rights to the Roadless designs, work in progress, stock and the spares business.  It took 5 days and 14 articulated lorries to move the stock to Jewell's Bridgewater premises.


In 1985 Kellands Group, a local distributor of construction machinery bought L.F.Jewell Ltd. Kelland then went bust in 1991. Kellands was then rescued and are still trading and now own the Multidrive tractors business and sprayers.


Roadless was then sold off to Roger Haynes, a local farmer & contractor from Evesham, with a long association with Roadless as a tester.  He then carried on the parts supply business as Agrosave before retiring and selling it in 1996.


This JEWELLTRAC Ford Roadless Tractor is one of only 6 built at Bridgewater, it was probably supplied new to Chivers Civil Engineers.  Being a Government contractor, involved restoring military properties etc, Chivers took this rare tractor to the Falkland Islands to complete works there after the war.


In 1984 they were helping to build infrastructure including a runway, a multi-purpose complex and a road from Stanley to the airfield.


Due to another recession in the 1980s, there was a lack of private investment, costs escalated and a growth of bad debts and late settlement of claims.  These led to a sharp fall in profits.  In October 1985 receivers were called in at Chivers and the firm closed, in the spring of 1986 after 101 years in Devizes.


On its return to England the tractor was sold and now does a valuable job locally although in semi retirement.  These photographs show it in use with a straw blower, which can take a whole large bale and chop it and blow into the covered yard in minutes.


When my Father and Granddad were alive, this job on the farm, would have taken a couple of men, half a day to do by hand and used a lot more straw.

If you have any queries or wish to purchase a photograph, please contact me:

 

+44 7831237759

dcrh@supanet.com

 

If you wish to send a donation to the Alzheimer's Society, please print out and send with a form from their dedicated page.  This will inform the Society that your donation came via this website!  

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Comments

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  • Sarah Mitchell (Wednesday, September 11 19 10:31 pm BST)

    Hi there is a wonderful picture you took of a dear friend of mine on his journey to the gdsf this year. It is in the western daily press dated 22/08/19 Carl Brown roading the Marshall to gdsf. I cannot locate this picture on any website to purchase and was hoping i could purchase through yourself many thanks Sarah

  • John Baines (Friday, April 05 19 03:45 pm BST)

    Have you any photogaphs of James & Crockerills yard in Durrington? Their MD Peter Barber owned the Burrell Scenic Road loco 'Prince of Wales@ and other engines including Burrell roller 'Daffodil'

  • Zoe Read (Saturday, March 02 19 07:08 pm GMT)

    I see you already have dates for this one but I wondered if you would consider adding Purbeck Rally to your event list?
    9th -11th August
    worgret road, wareham, dorset, BH20 6AB
    Raising funds for Forest Holme Hospice Charity & other local causes.

  • Andrew Gray (Wednesday, February 20 19 07:55 pm GMT)

    Is that Mr Dimmer and the train made at Durrington Sec Modern, I started there 1963 and left 1968. Mr Dimmer (Regg) was such a great teacher. Wonderful set of images to treasure. p.s we met today at the Boscombe Down Tornado fly past.

  • Jamie (Saturday, September 01 18 01:39 am BST)

    Hi!

    I am Jamie. One of the coalomen from last weeks steam fair. I know you mentioned taking lots of photos of us and it would be lovely to see them. Please get back to me when you can with prices ect i will most certainly purchase a few! In the meantime i will admire wgat you have on your page here already, hope you enjoyed the show! Speak soon

    Regards
    Jamie

  • Don Russell (Friday, August 17 18 08:51 am BST)

    Hullo, found your site when looking for GDSF info. I was wondering if you had any information regarding engines travelling to the GDSF. I read engines will be raising money for cancer on there journey but I cannot find any info regarding route and timings.Thanks

  • Brian Moore (Saturday, August 04 18 12:40 pm BST)

    Thanks David: Brian

  • Peter Freeman (Thursday, May 10 18 09:56 pm BST)

    Fantastic site, easy to read and great pics! Keep up the good work.

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