Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Topping Time On The Smallholding.

We have been topping the fields with 'Maggie' the Ford 4000 and the Perfect topper.  She does a good job and  cuts the thistles at the same time.  I usually walk around the fields cutting the thistles with hedge shears or my jungle slasher.  The mixed weather makes the grass grow like mad and get in front of the cattle.

I bought the topper a couple of years a go and it's probably the best 650 Euros I have ever spent.  I still cut some of the thistles in awkward places that the tractor can't get.  Especially on high lockers only suited to four wheel drive tractors.  We are saving some of the fields for hay, haylage or silage if it becomes too wet for small square bales of hay.

I remember when we use to come here on holidays and we would help my granddad and uncle and neighbour farmer make the hay with pikes and horse and cart.  My mum and grandmother would walk down to the fields with small bottles of bass bitter or Guinness, currant cakes and a bottle of cold tea in a old sock.  There's nothing more refreshing on an hot summers day.  Those were the days, sadly gone for ever!

Anybody else doing any topping with their tractor?  Have you got a vintage tractor?  What's it called?


  1. I don't think you can beat an old tractor as long as it's reliable. And I agree they should have names. I don't own a tractor but my old sit on mower is called Fagin, as he'll empty your pockets with whatever you have in when you bump up and down on him as he's going along!

  2. Fagin is a great name for a ride on mower BG. We are vintage tractor mad at our house. Number one son talks about nothing else but machinery. Thanks!

  3. Our smallholding is tiny in comparison to your land, but I think that it is big enough for us to manage!
    I don't know the history of our home and land, but I often feel conscious of the generations who have lived here in the past and wonder what they think of the changes we have made to the place. One thing for sure, though, and that is that I think that they will be happy that we have turned it back into a mixed small farm, which it must have been originally.....when we arrived here the house was a ruin, all the fruit trees and hedge lines had been removed by a farmer who rented the land from the previous owners so he could do cereal crops. In truth the whole place had an air of decay and sadness about it, which it doesn't have now.

    1. We only have 14 acres Vera. That's including the Haggard (cowshed barn..) and the two dwellings.

      I often thing my uncle would have looked at our changes and said:

      "There is no occasion."

      I always enjoy reading your blog of life in France and other farmers blogs Vera.

  4. My farmer is interested that you lop thistles, we spray ours off.
    I agree you have to do something because otherwise they over run the fields in no time. We have a 1950 Fergie which in the Winter is used every day in the Loose Housing for scraping out. We did have a 1947 one but had it converted.
    We have mostly always had Fergies and our present one is about 5 years old, but we also have an old Same.
    Some of the farmers round us are already silaging but we sell off our first crop silage and our farmer friend and neighbour, who has it, is leaving it to get a bit longer before he cuts.
    The farmer also sprays off docks as they are a real problem round here and we don't want them in the silage.
    Nice to hear from you.

  5. Hi Weaver. We use to own a donkey called Trotsky. He was great at eating the thistle flowers and then spreading them everywhere in his droppings. Spent half a day today cutting them with hedge shears.

    We have a grey Fergie that runs but needs sandblasting and painting. She's a diesel. We also have a Fordson Dexta and some more Fords. The Ford is easy to get parts for and relatively simple to repair.

    I sold my silage last year and ended up buying small square bales for the calves we bought. I think slurry is great for spreading dock seeds and it's a cold manure that never gets hot enough to kill the seeds. Nice to hear from you.


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