By the barn August 18
Posted: 3rd Aug 2018
Well, isn’t the year whizzing past at a frightening speed and we’re already into August and harvesting.
We will be cutting the winter barley and wheat, leaving the stubble to be worked later and the Pheasants will be picking over the dropped grain, the field mice and rabbits running away from the noisy combines cutting the crops.
Tractors, trailers, balers filling the country lanes, narrowed by the hogweed, cow parsleys and brambles, long days and lots of work.
78% of arable crops are cereals ( 4% are potatoes, 13% is oilseed rape) and these need to be kept clean of weed seed, chemical residue etc to gain the best price, having taken the trouble to get them at the correct moisture and nutritional content.
The real term food price has fallen over the last four years to 2008 values, according to Gov statistics. U.K. Self sufficiency is less than 50% now and with Brexit looming, as farmers, we will have to use technology in all its forms to compete with world prices or have to be recompensed for not doing, to allow us to compete.
Food security means having access to healthy and safe food at all times and this has led to food standards being created. To meet these standards assurance schemes have been created, regulating the arable industry as much as any other.
Along the lanes and farm drives Yarrow with its pink and white flower heads is growing, along with the Self-heal ( used for sore throats). The hedges are full with the nightshades- Woody nightshade with its fuschia like purple flowers, giving way to red berries, Black nightshade with its tomato-like flowers and cherry black berries and Deadly nightshade-‘Belladonna’- with its purple veined bell shaped flowers, from which we get ‘Atropine’ used for eye surgery and all poisonous!
Big, fat light -grey Wood Pigeons sit heavily on roads and fences, clumsily flapping and leaving it until the last minute to get out of the way, flocking into the fields to clean them of grain.
And Ted and Pip help to fetch lambs in for weighing and sorting for market, hopefully slowly and calmly!
Posted by: Angela