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Hi again,

It's the beginning of March and spring really does feel like it is in the air which has been really nice. It's still cold though so I need to make sure I wrap up warm before I go out but at least the sun is shining, it's not raining and the birds are singing. I really like this time of year where it is dry, the sky is blue and even though it is quite cold you can feel some heat coming from the sun, it really does make me feel lucky to be working outdoors.

Our fields have just started to dry up enough for us to travel on them with tractors, so I have once again been able to do some tractor work. In the last weeks of February I managed to roll the last field of wheat that I sew in December. This was just starting to poke through the soil finally, and as it had been too wet to roll when the crop was sown, it needed doing to compact the soil around the seeds and plants and keep nutrients close to where the plants need them. We have had quite a bit of trouble with crows eating the seeds and some shoots of the plants so we are still waiting to see how much damage they have done, hopefully it won't be too much and we will have a good crop. The day after rolling the field I put our fertilizer spinner on the tractor and spread some nitrogen onto some crops to help them grow. The first field I did was the wheat field I had rolled. This needed the fertilizer because it is quite a lot smaller than the crops that were sown much earlier and therefore needs a "boost". I also spread some nitrogen onto the majority of our oilseed rape crops at different rates. In some fields the rape is still suffering from being planted into dry soils back in September and is still small, and in other fields the pigeons have been eating the leaves of the plants over the winter so both these crops needed a high level of nitrogen to give them a boost. I also spread some nitrogen at a lower rate onto the rest of the oilseed rape to make sure that it keeps growing well and to supply the nutrients where they are needed.

We have also ploughed one field ready for sowing with a spring sown crop of barley, but before this was ploughed I finally got to "play" with my new sprayer for the first time!! This was because there was a number of weeds growing that needed to be controlled, I don't think I quite understood the sprayer properly, but I'm sure I'll get used to it the more I use it!

We got our ewes(female sheep) scanned in the middle of February so we could see which ones are going to have lambs, and which aren't, but the scanner man could also see how many lambs each sheep is going to have. This is so we can feed those having two lambs a different feed that is more vital to what they need compared to those only having one lamb each. Sheep carrying two or more lambs risk dying because the lambs inside them take up stomach space, which reduces what the sheep can eat meaning they might not get all the nutrients they require. We feed them a special diet therefore to stop this from happening.

During February we also started selling the sheep that are going for slaughter so it may be that if you have a joint of lamb, or a lamb chop recently you may have been eating what was once one of our sheep!

Till next month, good bye for now, Paul.

Manchester Council
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