By the barn July
Posted: 11th Jul 2017
“He soars and he hovers, rocking on his wings,
He scans his wide parish with a sharp eye, He catches the trembling of small hidden things, He tears them in pieces, dropping them from the sky.” Robert Graves
Over half way through the year already – where does time go?
Summer soft fruits and salads are in full production now and are at their best taste-wise. Growers are busy supplying supermarkets to specification. As customers, do we mind wonky, slightly blemished or misshapen fruit and veg or should it be thrown away?
It’s a lovely time of year to take a walk along a footpath and many cross crop fields. You may think there isn’t much to see in a corn field but you would be surprised . Arable production has become a more highly specialised industry, with all processes targeted at maximising the yield/quality, with its own events and shows and world class competitions.
From nutrient mapping of areas and precision applications to targeted plant protection products, tomorrows technology is already here. The job of an agronomist, who specialises in crops and their care, is an important one as we all have to try to make savings and efficiencies, whilst still producing what our customer wants.
Alongside the growing crop- and this is the make or break time of the year, when all the treatments are applied and the weather has the biggest say on the final yield- there may run a ‘margin’, a piece of various width ground which is left untreated and out of production for the wild plants, ground nesting birds and smaller mammals.
Ringlet butterflies will be flitting along too, feeding on the umbrells (plants with an umbrella type of flower) and swarms of midges, particularly if there are damp places. Midges can carry diseases for livestock as they are carried across from the continent on high plumes of air. Banks of nettles provide home and food for a myriad of insects.
The Buzzard will be sat in a tree watching for rabbits hiding in the long grasses or in the crop itself or soaring on thermals.
Look closely and there may be flowers growing under the crop- Scarlet Pimpernel is known as ‘poor mans weatherglass’ (because it closes up in bad weather) and in ditches running alongside, brooklime, with its blue flowers will be competing for space with the Ladies Mantle.
We have sheared our sheep and will be spraying lambs, if needed, to keep the flies off them. The fleece being packed into wool sacks.
Our young heifers have joined the herd and have to find their place in the hierarchy- they are to replace any of our old cows we have sold or intend to, next year producing their first calves, hopefully.
Posted by: Angela