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This current situation which we all find ourselves has presented all of us with unprecedented challenges. As farmers and growers, classed as keyworkers, our work life has carried on pretty much as normal. In fact the major challenges we have faced in the last few months have been from the weather more than the virus.
The wettest autumn and winter in our lifetimes meant that across the UK planting of winter crop varieties was down substantially, in some areas, less than 50% of wheat was able to be planted, compared to a normal year.
Ok, so no need to panic, our nation’s farmers will plant spring crop varieties of wheat and barley to make up for the lack of winter varieties. That is exactly what many farmers did. Unfortunately, what followed was two months with virtually no rain and to really hammer home the problem, there was a severe late frost in May. Have you seen the film ‘A Perfect Storm’………?
So currently there is a real threat to our nation’s food production as a result of the weather. Throw into that the Covid 19 challenges and stress really starts to mount. Most farmers are at the older end of the spectrum, many are isolated both geographically and by an industry where people work alone, the PPE needed to do certain jobs is suddenly unobtainable and the chance to meet fellow growers for a catch up, or even just being able to call in for a coffee has gone. Still working long hours to keep animals fed (they don’t stop eating) and trying to rescue struggling crops, this has definitely been one of the most challenging years we have ever faced.
However, we have open fields and fresh air in abundance and we have mostly welcomed you to walk around the edges of our fields so you too can exercise and benefit from contact with nature whilst struggling with your own lockdown challenges. All we hope is that you don’t damage the crop, you don’t drop litter and you please take your dog poo home with you. So far, you have all been respectful and we thank you for that.
We are working hard to make sure next year’s food is available and we are planning ways to make your Christmas easy and special. We all need something to look forward to at the end of this! Keep going folks…….and take care all of you.