By the barn June 19
Posted: 5th Jun 2019
Half way through the year already! Lambs and calves are growing fast and crops are thickening and green.
Swallows flit in and out of the old stables or soar and sweep through the air, catching insects to take back to feed to ever open mouths.
Chiff chaffs noisily sing in the trees, having arrived earlier in the year and Yellowhammers chatter along the hedges filled with delicately pink tinged flowering dog rose. The dawn chorus is at its peak. Another migrant is the pretty Painted Lady- an orangey butterfly, feeding on thistles and nettles, both abundant at this time of year.
The field work is building as more cuts of silage are made, crops are fertilised and treated for disease or pest. Tramlines are conspicuous now and are used repetitively to avoid flattening the crop- these are the tractor tyre marks made originally when the crop was first instigated ( and a giveaway in historical films as they are relatively modern ).
Livestock farmers are also busier as lambs fatten and are sorted and sent to market, dairy cattle still have to be milked daily and all the day to day jobs still have to be completed.
The yellow fields of Oil seed rape flowers ( not so much grown now since the banning of neonicatinoids and as a result, less food for bees) have given way to the formation of the seed pods. These can be attacked by weevils, such as the Cabbage stem flea beetle, which eats its way into the plant to lay its eggs . These hatch and the destruction continues from within.
Shearing has begun and the mature sheep have their, by now, thick and heavy fleece removed. Contrary to some social media reports, this is quick, painless and prevents flies from finding a home on sweaty, dirty wool and laying eggs which turn into maggots and cause fly strike ( where the maggots eat into the body of the animal).
Another disingenuous claim made against farming is that it takes 15400 litres of water to produce 1kg of beef. But what is not made clear, is that 83% of that water is natural, I.e. Rainfall via grass. The intensity and scale of production and type of feed has an impact on the water footprint of animals and here in the UK it is a totally different system to the feedlots of other countries, a totally low impact and sustainable one.
It’s time for an important day in the farming calendar- Open farm Sunday on June 9th A day when normal working farms open their gates to allow people to see exactly how food is grown and answer questions about production. Don’t rely on social media stories from groups with their own agendas, find out for yourself!
Posted by: Angela