THE weather has been rather windy over the last week, but on one day only it was, fortunately,very calm.

It was on this day that we managed to finish spraying the last few fields of winter wheat with a fungicide. This was just to complete the last application advised by our agronomist. The rest of the week has been quite sunny giving farmers the chance to make silage, haylage and hopefully we can make some good hay.

We have sold most of our second cut grass to a neighbour, who has cut it for silage, only keeping one field for hay,which James cut mid-week. Hopefully the weather will remain as forecast.

On Sunday Richard and I helped at two Open Farm Sunday events.

They are managed by LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming), with the first farms opening their gates in 2006. Since then 1,500 farmers in the UK have opened their gates to welcome 1.8 million people onto them for one Sunday every year. It is a great opportunity for people to see and learn how their food is produced on working farms.

The first event we attended was organised by the Marlborough Downs Nature Enhancement Partnership (MDNEP), a very successful group of 42 farmers, farming together on a landscape scale for nature, with Dr Jemma Batten at the helm.

This year it was the Cooper family of East Farm, Winterbourne Monkton who hosted the Open Farm Sunday on behalf of the group. At 11am people started to pour in - in total over 1,600 - to meet a variety of farm animals and conservation organisations, watch some shearing and go on guided tractor rides, which ran non-stop until 4pm.

There were also plenty of activities for children with a farming theme and refreshments using local food. Many visitors enjoyed watching the shearing of a group of "mules". A mule is a sheep produced, often by crossing an upland Border Leicester ram with a purebred hill ewe, such as a Swaledale.

This type of crossing is widely used in breeding management systems, offering several advantages. The resulting mules, with hybrid vigour, display many good inherited traits, such as strong mothering instincts, ample milk production and give birth to strong lambs.

After lunch Richard and I moved a short distance to help at Upper Farm, Cherhill, the home of the Pickford family.

This event focused on the dairy side of the business, with many local farmers showing groups of visitors around the dairy unit. There was an opportunity to see the cows being milked in a large herringbone style milking parlour, holding 40 cows, 20 on each side.

To enable visitors to get a close view of the milking process, only one side of the parlour was being used.

There was also a static display of tractors and machinery used on the farm to prepare seed beds right through to harvesting grass, cereals and other crops. Visitors very much enjoyed their experience and asked lots of questions.

Hopefully Open Farm Sunday events throughout the UK,will have given visitors a greater understanding about where their food comes from.

During the latter part of the week, here on Manor Farm, Richard, James and Nathan have been doing some roguing. This is not a popular task as it involves pulling up patches of wild oats which have appeared in some of our cereal crops.

Being much taller than the sown crops they are easy to identify,with pulling them up and destroying them before the seeds drop to the ground being the best way to prevent this weed from spreading.

They have also repaired some fencing, replaced some non functioning lights on the tractors and other machinery as well as some tidying up around the buildings.