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By the barn May

Posted: 3rd May 2017

May brings lots of work for farmers but it also brings the end of the application window for the Basic payment scheme- the name for the method of CAP, which our government has decided to honour until 2019 at least, even though article 50 was triggered last month to begin the process of leaving the EU.

It comes in for a lot of flak from people who believe it distorts trade and from others who think Agriculture should stand on its own feet without handouts, like many other industries. But it does give some stability to enable farming to produce the food the increasing populations need; for many of our decisions are taken many months previously. If looked at as an investment in ensuring a safe and regular supply at a relatively stable price, it seems a fair deal.

This month sees much of the silage being made, in anticipation of next winter and the fields will have been rolled and fertilised.

Dependent on the growth stage of corn crops, these may be sprayed too and there will be much farm machinery moving about the country lanes and maneouvering through gateways.

Our gateways are important- they are places that sometimes collect water and the sheep are loathe to go through and we can spend wasted time trying to persuade them it’s safe. They also form regular access, where there are deep ruts made in winter and which take time to heal, but sometimes not soon enough and can cause grain spillages, if we’re not careful, later on in the year. We can fill with stone and that suffices for a while but doesn’t always last, easily swallowed up by the clay.

They can also be very arid areas in hot summers and the ground becomes stony and dusty, but also shaded places with big hedges and tall plants. Nettles, brambles and Campion grow alongside and garlic mustard is growing now and the scent of this when trapped in the gate gives it its name. Cuckoo flower (or as we call it, ‘milk maids’) might also be spotted, a pale pink or cream flower, dotted along.

We are calving this month and it’s lovely to see the young animals frolicking in the fields, while mum keeps a watch while grazing.

There is a new addition to the family in the form of a Jack Russell bitch called Pip and she will have to learn to avoid the cattle, especially when they have calves with them. She seems a very intelligent little dog, although Ted has taken a long while to get used to her, whereas our old dog loves her (as long as she knows her place and allows him to sleep when he wants!).

The flash of a Brimstone butterfly along the edge of a Buckthorn or similar copse during this month easily equals the sight of a Kingfisher along a streamside bank, both ‘blink and you’ll miss them’ experiences!

Posted by: Angela
Categories: Farming

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