A worldwide ice breaker when you are having a chat ‘weather talk’….Word of warning not a sensible question at the moment if trying to chat up a farmer!
I had some lovely new customers to visit the farm shop yesterday and all of them were genuinely concerned about the wet spring we have had. So I thought this week I would try to explain why I am a grumpy farmer (really I am worried)!
My mission statement is to grow good food for you to eat…..but this also means I need to grow good fodder for my stock to eat.
For the last month we have been feeding our reserve silage (grass wrapped in plastic) because we haven’t been able to get the cattle out in the fields to eat grass. It has been a long winter and we have only just put the cattle out. If they had gone out too early they would have trampled the land so that new grass wouldn’t grow. We now have animals late on the grass so not in as good nick,so need more grass to put the fat back on. Also no sun so the grass is not really coming through at a fast enough rate to replace what they are eating. We have eaten the reserves which will need to be topped up before the winter, this means we need to make an extra 1/3 of silage, so less grass for the cattle to eat in the summer. As you can see they is a vicious cycle.
Apart from silage we feed our cattle barley, oats and wheat. So we have the same issue with this. They have been eating all the reserves while still in the shed waiting to go out to grass. We have been unable to get the new crops planted as the ground is so wet. They have just started to go in this week, so the growing season is short before harvest time, so bumper crops are very unlikely in a year that we need to replenish our reserves.
Finally the last part of the fodder cycle is we use the stalk of the wheat/barley/oats to give us the straw that the stock sleep on during the winter. The reserves of this have also gone and will need topping up!!!!!
One customer said cant you buy it in, good question, but if there is a fodder shortage here then it will be all over the island/world, so not only will it be hard to find it will also cost more (supply and demand – this is an interesting topic I will save for another week as it does not seem to apply at the other end of the food chain).
Busy week for H Boss he struggled to fit school around it…. Ploughing with Billy, Rotaring with Will, and drilling with me, lots of tractor time
The boys on the pens sorting the last of the sheep 🐑
Black is the in colour this year, meat Joe one of our new bull’s, waiting for the sun to shine so he can get out with the ladies
Then there is the newest member of the big boys, Toby, he is a home breed Angus who has his first birthday next week