By the barn June 18
Posted: 15th Jun 2018
As we move from a late cold and wet spring through to summer, now we are in June and it’s nearly the longest day already!
Farmers are busy calving, mowing grass for silage and treating growing crops with fertilisers and herbicides and pesticides to ensure that the fields produce a good crop.
The summer fruits are ripening and need to be picked just at the moment that means they are at their best when they reach you.
Although there is increasing automation and mechanisation in the agricultural industry, it is a clever robot that can decide a strawberry is just at its peak. That is why farming is quite labour intensive – many people come here from overseas to pick fruit and vegetables.
However, we are, sometimes, losing out to other countries, for several reasons: one being the strength ( or weakness) of the pound- if someone can get better value for the currency, there is no need or desire to travel as far to work.
There are strict regulations concerning employing overseas workers and a good wage has to be offered, along with accommodation and good terms of employment in order to attract the people but it is hard, physical work with an inclement climate ( unlike Spain for instance).
The livestock industry also employs a huge foreign workforce, manning the abattoirs, operating as vets and working on dairy farms, so any shortage of labour impacts highly on farming. Why? Our own people don’t seem to want to do those sort of jobs.
We are moving our sheep flocks around to make best use of the grass, which is at its nutritional peak now and have shut up some fields which we will silage shortly.
The sheep will be sheared too, each fleece picked over for any debris and dirt, then rolled and packed into the wool sack. The ewes happy to be rid of a heavy cloying coat. Until they are sheared, we must keep a close eye on them for fly strike, where the flies lay eggs in the dirty parts and these hatch into maggots, which can eat into the skin if not noticed in time.
Ted will have a very busy time this month and will be working hard, making up for the previous quieter spell!
Birds foot trefoil and rest harrow will be coming into flower now. The first yellow and the latter pink, but both the food of the ‘blue’ butterflies, which we may also be lucky enough to see now.
The dawn chorus is at its peak and the fields are full of the calls of Lapwings and Blackbirds, Sky larks and the smaller songbirds. The wild flowers are blooming ( even the insignificant ones)and it’s a magical time of the year.
Posted by: Angela