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By the barn August 2020

Posted: 1st Aug 2020

This month farmers are busy harvesting what seems to be a variable crop- some fields have done well, some not yielded as much .Large machinery will be moving about the lanes and its sometimes slower than you’d like- please be patient. It cannot always pull in safely to allow you to pass or needs room to turn in to the field gate.

We’ve tried a few different crops over the years, such as Triticale(grain), Field beans(similar to Broad beans) and Peas.

Peas contain 15% recommended vitamin C intake in just one serving, more fibre than a slice of wholemeal bread and low in fat and sugar, but high in protein and folic acid. Although grown mostly for human consumption further east, we used peas as a protein food for our livestock and the resulting straw was much loved by goats in particular.

I can’t believe, reading last years August barn, when talking about the aim of agriculture to be net zero by 2040, I wrote the biggest impact would be the taking away of cars and planes and how this would never happen!

How wrong I was, as we saw industry and transport brought to a halt, more or less, by Covid-19. Suddenly the air was much cleaner and views seemed much sharper and more birdsong could be heard, with wildlife being seen in towns, cities and villages where it hadn’t previously. And, yet, farming continued pretty much as it always had!

I read and see all the time about how swapping red meat and dairy for alternatives, is better for the planet. But things like that are never quite as straightforward, are they? For example, the carbon footprint of UK beef production is estimated at 18.2kg CO2compared to global average of 46kg CO2. For instance, Avocados are not as innocent as we would like to believe- mostly grown in South and Central America, leading to the removal of rainforest and using copious amounts of agrochemicals and water( and also the involvement of drug cartels), they have to travel here(5500miles) using temperature controlled storage facilities. Disease in the crop/shortages leading to price rises mean the local population cannot afford to buy them. Serious environmental consequences from buying habits and misinformation.

In our wild bird seed plot we can see Red clover flowering, also a member of the pea family, much loved by Bees and white clovers cover the grass fields, helping the soil retain nitrogen whilst providing nutritious grazing for our animals.

The lambs are being weighed and wormed and an eye kept on them for flies- which love warm, humid weather – we have had some late born lambs(last month) and we think it is a result of the inclement weather we had last autumn and winter putting the ewes off breeding.

Snails and slugs also love humid and warm weather and one of their predators is the Hedgehog. Not seen so often but is mainly active at dusk and moves and feeds quite noisily. Our dogs find them a little bit intimidating, especially after having a nose prickled. Many meet a sticky end on our roads but are also predated on by badgers, which can unroll and eat using their sharp claws. Where predator control is practised it has been shown that hedgehog numbers improve. Image

Posted by: Angela
Categories: Farming

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