Today my main task on the farm has been hedgecutting. There is only a few days left of hedgecutting season, as it is illegal to cut farm hedgerows from 1st of March onwards to protect nesting birds.
We purchased a new (well second hand) hedgecutter recently. The old one only had a 4.5m reach and had spool valves (hydraulic controls) which came through the back window of the tractor. This meant turning round to operate the machine, so gave the operator neck ache.
The new mower (the official name for a hedgecutter that attaches to a tracotr is a ‘reach mower’) has 6.5m of reach, electric controls and boot flails. Boot flails leave a neat finnish on the hedge and are good for cutting the fine annual growth of a hedge. The old machine had a ‘Bushwacker’ head which was more suited to cutting thick branches.
It’s a slow job cutting the hedges, but throughout the winter the farm has the available labour to undertate the task. We have one more hedge to cut next week and then the farm will be looking all trim and tidy.
We prefer to trim the hedges later in the winter so that the berrys are available for the birds through the coldest months. By March there is often other foodstuffs becoming available for the birds.
Leaking Hydraulic Ram
When ever a second hand piece of equipment is purchased, there is always some unknown about its condition. We have been really pleased with the new mower. The only thing really is a small leak on one of the hydraulic rams and a seal on the gearbox. They are just small repairs and will get done before we need the machine again in the summer time. During August we use the mower to cut the grass on the ditch sides to make way for the excavator to clean the ditches out. Drainage is very important here in the low lying fields of the Vale of York. Each ditch must be mown and de-silted annually to keep the drainage system working effectively.