Voice of the Farmer | April 2021

The Farming View

The month of March has been very productive at Rawston, with most  of the spring planting completed. Spring beans have been sown providing home grown protein for our cattle and hopefully some to sell. Also spring barley has been sown using varieties suitable for beer making. Let’s there will be good demand the summer when we can go to the Pub again ! March is also a busy monthfor us spreading our organic manure produced from cows and calves during the winter months. The manure is mianly straw based and is spread on the land and incorporated into the soil before sowing , providing nutrients for the crop and maintaining soil organic matter .

We have also started grazing our dairy cows who seem to be enjoying the freedom of grazing grass again. Hopefully as we move into april more cattle will be  able to go out into the fields again saving a considerable amount of feed, straw and time in looking after them inside. With the large numbers of walkers currently enjoying the countryside at the moment let’s hope that we can all work together using the countryside code to prevent any issuses involving livestock. We have an Aberdeen Angus bull on the farm so I must make sure he is in an appropriate field with other cattle to minimise any risk to the public.

Fred Fudge Rawston’s herdsman in the 1950’s with a twin of friesian calves.

Within the farming community there has been much debate regarding the Red Tractor consultation. Hopefully most consumers understand what the Red Tractor Logo stands for on food produce for sale .This produce  would have had to meet certain standards on animal welfare, the growing and storing of the food products in order to be Red Tractor Assured. In order to become assured an assessor will inspect the farm and any associated records on an annual basis. There is currently an consultation to review the standards which many growers feel are adequate as any increase in standards will increase the cost to the producer without necessarily getting an increased return. Perhaps more emphasis should be put on increasing the awareness amongst consumers as to what the Red Tractor stands for. Hopefully consumers will understand the importance of buying Red Tractor Assured food as it would have been produced to a high standard and produced in this country. Currently many food poructs that are imported are not produced to the same standard. Here at Rawston Farm we are promoting the Love Local Trust Local logo to highlight that food with this logo has been produced locally to a high standard and is fully traceable.

Interestingly looking at my families 1921 diary there is no mention of food assursance !  Looking in the diary I see one hundred years ago one of the highlights of april was a fancy dress ball in in Blandford Corn Exchange . Let’s hope that when the current  lockdown is over we can look forward to similar events.

By: James Cossins

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