Voice of the Farmer | February 2021

As this is my first contribution I will give a little introduction as who we are and what we do.

I am the fifth generation of the Cossins family to farm at Rawston farm, Tarrant Rawston. Our family came here in 1887 having moved from Somerset and took on the tenancy  and in 1919 had the opportunity to purchase the farm. We are what is described as a mixed farm or some may call us traditional in that we have cattle and grow crops. We have milking cows , beef cattle and grow wheat ,barley , oilseeds and beans. We rotate the fields between grassland and crops using the manure from the to maintain soil health and the fertility of the land. I think in this modern era this might be what is called sustainable farming , but is difficult to get a definition of what exactly sustainable means.

Rawston Farm’s Waterwheel house on the river Tarrant. Built by James Cossins Grandfather in the 1930’s

In the current covid pandemic crisis the farm has thankfully not been affected too badly. Our milk and grain collections have continued as normal and there have been no issues obtaining dairy feed  from local mills. The demand for beef seems largely unaffected with the farm continuing to supply our farm shop on a weekly basis.  Our  staff largely live in the quiet village here and at work can spend time working alone especially during  the busy planting and harvesting periods using tractors. Let’s hope we can continue to stay safe. Unfortuneatly for my wife Barbara her hospitality business has had to close for the time being, with no indication as to when it will reopen.

As we move into February there is always some optimisom on the farm as the days get longer, the weather may improve and we can start preparing fields for spring sowing.  The  cattle also start looking over the gates from their winter accommodation hoping the grass will soon start growing so they can be back out grazing .

My family has always been very good at keeping a farm diary. Referring back to 1921   the farming events at the beginning of February  included hedge laying , wheat thrashing ,and taking the wheat to Blandford and Webb in Blandford in sacks with a horse cart. Blandford and Webb were a local agricultural merchant who had a presence in our local town for many years.

This months picture shows our waterwheel house on the river Tarrant in the summer. This was built be my Grandfather in the 1930’s , where a water driven wheel drives a pump to draw up water from a borehole to the farms reservoir for cattle drinking. Early thinking of renewable energy ! .I think the picture was taken in the early 1940’s as in the back ground is the new road to the Tarrant Rushton Airfield built during the second world war.

Lets hope by the time I am writing next month spring will be with us and we can all look forward to better times!

By: James Cossins

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