It’s a dodgy sort of harvest


Harvesting has finally started at Rawston Farm, but James Cossins admits it’s a stop/start affair this year, thanks to the weather

Harvesting in the 70s at Rawston Farm

Eventually harvest started in the middle of July – and dodging the showers has been the name of the game! The weather has been the polar opposite to last year, when 19th July was the hottest day of the year in that astonishing heatwave. This year is totally different, with decisions having to be made about when to cut and how much are we prepared to dry. Fuel prices have dropped a little from the highs of last year but it is still expensive to dry grain and oilseeds.
The yields of our malting barley have been variable, mainly dependent on soil type, but overall it’s been a satisfactory result. As I write, are about to start harvesting our oilseeds – which from a distance look fairly average so we will have to wait and see what ends up in the barn. Currently prices are volatile, seemingly dependent on what food exports Russia is allowing from Ukraine.

Take 5
Before harvest we hosted a Health and Safety meeting at Rawston, organised by the NFU. It was well attended by local farmers and their farm staff, and was a very informative day. The NFU’s Farm Safety Week, from 17th to 21st July this year, highlighted health and safety issues on farms – 23 people were killed on farms in 12 months between 2021 and 2022. Agriculture has a poor record on the number of deaths on farms and the theme of the safety week was ’Take 5 to Stay Alive,’ encouraging farm workers to pause, to take the time to address the task in hand and to work out the safe procedures.
Statistics show the main causes of death were falls from heights, machinery accidents, falling objects and livestock incidents.
In the course of a day’s work on a farm we have to complete a wide range of tasks, each with their own individual risks. It is important to take time to consider the risks involved to prevent potential accidents, whether major or minor. We all went away from the course with food for thought – hopefully leading to a safe harvest.

Take 5 to Stay Alive … This driver was unharmed, but 23 people were killed on farms in 12 months between 2021 and 2022

It’s show time!
In Dorset we’re lucky to have three great show events each summer – the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show , the Melplash Show and finally the Dorset County Show in September. Hopefully the weather will look favourably on those days – and also on our harvesting.
Some better weather would be very much appreciated!

Sponsored by Trethowans Law. As its should be


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