July 2019; Be careful what you wish for!

Be careful what you wish for!
Many farmers and gardeners spent the end of May doing rain dances, now we are in a period of seemingly endless rain days we’ve measured rain on 10 of the last 12 days. Though luckily not on the scale that some further north where they have had three of four months rainfall in a week, leading to serious flooding many fields of crops. The rain has been very welcome, hopefully the sun will now come out to help our crops flower and fill out to fulfil their potential.
One Sunday in the middle of June I had an early morning phone call, our three bulls were found by the police on the Fairmile road at 4 o’clock in the morning. Their field gate had been opened and not shut, this is frustrating and potentially very dangerous, luckily this time no harm was done this time. Our bulls are very docile and were probably minding their own business lying down in the corner of the field, anyone walking in the field probably never saw them and thinking the field was empty left the gate open. The crucial message from this is a plea to always leave all gates as you find them, they could have been left open on purpose by the farmer, but if in doubt please do close them.

Walking the bulls back to their field in the daylight!

June tends to be a relatively quiet month on the farm as the crops approach harvest time and the cattle are moving quietly around the farm grazing and growing. This has become the time for meetings and conferences in the farming calendar, I was invited to Westminster to a “Celebration of Rural Business” this is an event organised by the Country Land and Business Association to get rural business people together with MPs to discuss our needs. There was a lot of talk of 4G and broadband connectivity as well as a lot of farming talk on how best to move agricultural policies forward after Brexit and in view of climate change. The day was really interesting and enjoyable. The Palace of Westminster is an incredible place (even covered in scaffolding) and to walk through the central lobby at 6pm filled with journalists filing their reports on the Tory leadership battle, which was in full swing, was interesting!
My visit to Parliament was followed a week later by a trip to
Groundswell which is an agricultural show based around promoting soil health through the use of Conservation Agriculture. There were some inspiring speakers and thought provoking discussions throughout the two day event, my only disappointment was that I was only able to go for one day this year.
All the farms in the parish are looking to join together with many more between here and Hungerford to create a “Farmer Cluster” group to work together and provide wildlife and environmental benefits on a landscape scale rather than just doing our own thing on our patch. This is something which has been done extremely successfully locally on the Marlborough downs over the last few years. Hopefully we can have a similar impact here within our community, I will try to keep you informed as this develops over time.