A couple of days ago I heard a commotion in the barn – alpacas screeching as they do when they see a threat. When I went out I found the alpacas (mums and crias) on full alert, with this fella skulking in a corner. I got the alpacas out of the way and then on approaching the fox, saw that it was clearly injured. It was still mobile, but would not let me get close enough to inspect it. Its legs, head and neck seemed to be OK, but its abdomen looked to me as if it had taken a bit of a beating. From the way it was moving, there was no way it could have got past the alpacas and into the back of the barn in that state, so I can only conclude that the alpacas found it in the barn and attacked it. I have heard of alpacas trampling foxes to death in the past, but this is the first time I have personally seen such evidence.
Well that plan changed pretty rapidly – Mark mowed on Monday (about 20 acres) and it was obvious first thing on Tuesday that, given the hot day forecast, I ought to be thinking about baling and wrapping on Tuesday. So off I went tedding all day – what a dusty job that is – and Charlie turned up to row, bale and wrap late afternoon. The bale count was about 160 all together, which is a very good crop bearing in mind that I use no artificial fertiliser. The question is : how do I know which management change (if any) generated the improved crop – was it spreading slurry after last year’s second cut, grazing the ground with sheep last autumn, aerating the ground to improve root development – or maybe none of those – possibly just due to the wet warm summer and the fact that it’s been cut about three weeks later than usual ? Ho hum, the joys of farming. Today’s main task is racing round the fields picking up the bales and stacking them in nice neat rows – each bale stacked on its end, of course !
At last we seem to have a hot dry spell, so we’ll be making haylage this week. Over the last couple of days I reckon that the ground has dried out enough to get machinery on to it, so we’ll be mowing this afternoon, tedding tomorrow and then baling and wrapping on Wednesday. Last year we took our first cut at the end of June, and here we are nearing the end of July. It will be a huge relief to get the crop done – how many bales, I wonder ?