Voice of the Farmer | March 2021

I think most Farmers, Growers and Gardeners will be glad to see the back of February . We again seem to have had the extreme of the weather with a very cold spell followed by a very wet spell.

On the farm we managed to carry out a limited amount of ploughing in preparation of sowing our crops. During the cold spell we carried out our regular 60 day interval Bovine TB test with temperatures well below freezing due to the wind chill. Our brave Vets from the Damory Practice survived the four days of testing . The suprising and encouraging result was a clear test meaning that we now need one more clear test in60 days to be able to lift movement restrictions so we can sell cattle to other farmers. A good number of cattle keepers in the South West are beginning to test clear but the question is for how long.

In spite of the covid pandemic on the farm we have remained largely unaffected, which is more than can be said for my wife’s hospitality business which remains shut .Recent announcements have given us some light at the end of the dark tunnel. Let’s hope that the planned dates become a reality especially with the vaccine rollout continuing at a pace.

Looking forward to March and our farming activities, it is generally a very busy month if the weather allows. The planting of our spring barley will be a priority . Applying fertiliser to our winter crops and grass to give them a kick start into growing will also take place . The milking cows will be looking over the gates from their winter accommodation thinking that they can sense the grass is growing and when will they be allowed out again to their green pastures again.

Let,s hope that spring will be soon upon us and put a smile on our faces again with plants and flowers growing to start the food production cycle going again.

Looking back to  the farm dairy of February  1921 we were thrashing wheat and oats. Work had started preparing the fields for planting crops  which is very similar to what we are doing today .The picture probably taken in about 1930, of my Grandfather driving  an International harvester 10-20 tractor built around 1927  shows the tractor preparing the soil for planting , a very similar operation to our John Deere working during the end of February this year. An interesting comment in the 1921 diary was that this year was the longest and hottest drought within living memory. The stream dried up in July and started flowing again in January. Let’s hope the weather pattern doesn’t go in 100 year cycles !!

By: James Cossins

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