Emma Foot | Farming Standards
Well, we finally had the rain!
39 mm in total over 3 days which I was very happy about! The crops really needed that drink! I love farming, but being weather dependent is stressful with all the work you put in and because the weather can change everything, I’m just praying we have a dry harvest. A couple of weeks ago, dad sprayed off the winter barley as there was a lot of green barley and grass weeds in the tramlines, which when we come to harvest, would mess up a sample. The combine wouldn’t like it too much either, and when storing the grain, it heats up when there is green in there and the bugs just multiply.
I reckon our harvest will be about a week away now. Jack's uncle started on the 28th of June, which is very early! We took delivery of a new cultivator this month - a Horsch TerannoFX - so I'm looking forward to using that too once we have some corn cut.
Now, before I move into some more farmy stuff, I need to raise the importance of a subject that is close to home at the moment - the disputes over food standards. You may have seen or heard about the campaign to protect our high food standards, which us British farmers have to adhere to. This petition is to try and stop imports that are of a much lower welfare standard than they are here. In a lot of countries abroad, they are allowed to use chemicals, which have been banned here.
We aren’t even going to attempt to grow oil seed rape this autumn, due to the seed dressing being banned. Yet, our country will happily import oilseed rape from abroad, that use the seed dressing and sprays that are now banned in our country! The seed dressing that is now banned in our country, had allowed us, British farmers, to produce good crops of rape without the attack of Flea Beetle. It’s really quite disheartening knowing oil seed rape imports are coming in, knowing we can grow good crops ourselves if we could use the dressings they do.
We lost over £10,000 trying to establish our oil seed rape last autumn. I know of a poultry farm which had invested in colony cages a few years ago now, and the smaller cages were sent to Poland which does infuriate me! Meanwhile, us farmers, abide by the rules, and our businesses would be ruined if we didn’t comply, yet it seems it doesn’t matter if its imported. I wouldn’t mind if it was a fair playing field, but budgets have to be tight here on UK farms, and having to comply with the highest welfare standards, and having competition from abroad without our high standards, really puts a strain on our situation.
If you would like to find out more and sign the petition to help British farmers, please click on this link: https://www.campaigns.nfuonline.com/page/56262/petition/1
Anyway, back to a more positive topic...
Here is the Phacelia in contrast to the spring barley looking and smelling beautiful in the sun. To establish it, we have to broadcast the Phacelia, and either disc it, or cultivate it. We do this in the difficult corners where we cant get with our drill or on steep parts of fields - the bees love it so why wouldn't we! We also grow a mix of Phacelia, buckwheat, and clover in over a third of the farm, as we don’t leave any over wintered stubble on the farm. It’s all to help the wildlife by having cover and food. My Dad and Gran have a large area in their gardens, and it just self-seeds.
With all the weather we have been having, our peas are doing well. As you can see, they are now quite big. The bigger ones aren’t as sweet as the smaller ones - these will be used for tinning peas so its vital they keep their colour. I’ve been picking them and podding them for our tea! This variety is Daytona. They have a good colour retention and standing ability. Peas are well known for going flat so I’m hoping the variety does us well. A great little feature is these are nitrogen fixing, so no fertiliser is required. So instead, we have sprayed them with manganese and magnesium.
As harvest is soon approaching, I’ve decided its finally time to clean off the tractors again. The amount of dust that had collected on the windows and paintwork was astounding, so as you can imagine, that was fun... The stores are now all cleaned out and the drier is maintained - although I’m hoping nothing will need to be dried or very little anyway.
We have been busy still doing bits on Dad's farmhouse. There’s still a lot to do, but we cant seem to source plaster at the moment - well the only plaster we’ve seen is selling at more than double the price, so it’s a bit crazy! We’ve been busy pulling black grass, and continuing to keep going over and over fields as they seem to have shot up after the rain we've been having. I can’t get over how fast the year is going by!
Thank you for taking the time to have a read, I hope you enjoyed it and I do hope you are well.