Orchard Report Fourayes Farm: Autumn 2015

We are about half way through the first pick of the Bramley crop.

It now seems hard to believe that we have had, for the most part, a dry spring and summer until August and that is when the rain started to become a problem. The first week of harvest was okay but since then it has turned very wet, making harvesting very difficult with stop/start apple picking and in muddy conditions.

Our new orchard has got off to a good start with good wood growth and our compost helped the trees through a prolonged dry spell. The bees have done their job very well but it is a later season this year and general size of the Bramley is smaller.

Crows did not attack the Bramley so much this year, so the shotgun and starting pistol were not used so much. The wildlife on the farm has seen the rabbits only making a small increase in numbers due to Myxomatosis. Sitting on a box in the corner of an orchard I can hear the Buzzards calling and two are circling our heads. Now we have apple pickers in the orchards, our hares are not showing themselves. Badger numbers are up, fox numbers slightly down and kestrel numbers are increasing.

Ian Witherden at Fourayes Farm