Thursday while I was painting Ballakelly the clouds came over and there was a spot (A being the important point) of rain, but then a strong breeze blew the rest of the clouds out to sea and my hope of rain was over. I must get practicing my rain dance as long-term weather reports say we are set for hot hot hot until Sep!!!!
As you may have noticed the weather is fundamental to farming. Closely linked with the weather is water which is the lifeblood of agriculture. Water is very important for both livestock and for plants, both of which give us the great food we provide at Ballakelly Farm. I did listen to Mr Gell in science where I learnt that water forms a large part of all plant tissues as well as being an essential component of all animal body cells.
In spring I was winging there was too much water now there is too little. In the IOM we don’t usually have a shortage, which is why we don’t really need to manage the collection of it. However, when we do get a dry spell then the water systems are not equipped to deal with this.
The news now is all about water shortage, people struggling to wash their cars and more seriously fires caused by dry conditions. These are the immediate affects when there is no rain. For farming no water means nothing grows, so those crops that went in late now face lack of water, so productivity will be down, less grain and less straw.
When it does not rain for several weeks the crops may wither and dry up, stock can suffer if not used to the heat like we do (I lost a calf this week and only thing the autopsy came out with was sun stroke), egg/milk production goes down. Water then is one of the most limiting factors in all farming activities.
All I do hear is that it is a great year for hay!!! True, the horsey folk are all very excited, unfortunately there will not be loads of hay to sell as I will need it to feed my own stock, but most of my stock need more than a dry grass to sustain their condition and grow/feed their babies. There is less food content in the hay so we need to substitute it with other feed (which there is less off). Hay is great for Rachel’s fat ponies but not my prime beef stock 😊
We often read about our carbon footprint, but what about your water footprint. I was surprised to read how much water it takes to grow and make our food. The food we eat makes up more than 2/3 of our total water footprint. Ballakelly’s primary function is to grow food and more recently turn our product into a format you can buy directly from us. There are ways to protect water by understanding the impacts of our food choices and water-smart agriculture practices this is something we at
Ballakelly would like to look into more.
Let us look at our water footprint to produce an award winning Ballakelly Beef Burger with Cheese:
Ingredient #1 Beef –
Pound for pound, meat has a much higher water footprint than vegetables, grains or beans. But that is because cows eat and drink, so have their own water hoof-print! (
Ballakelly Beef cattle are “conventionally” raised. This means they eat grass in pasture, typically for 12 to 14 months, then they get grains (mainly grow at Ballakelly with imported minerals) for three to six months. It takes about 147 gallons of water to produce one pound of grain, and a beef bull or heifer can eat 1,000 pounds or more of feed over a few months. All that grain and water really adds up!
The study that I was reading said:
‘A single pound of beef takes, on average, 1,800 gallons of water. That huge water footprint is primarily due to the tremendous amount of water needed to grow the grass, forage and feed that a beef cow eats over its lifetime, plus water for drinking, cleaning and processing.’
- 8 oz Beef Burger = 900 gallons of water
Ingredient #2 – Bap –
All I could find was that a loaf of bread requires about 400 gallons of water, so let us say;
- Bap = 45 gallons
Ingredient #3 – Cheese
There were no studies on Manx cheese, but a pound of cheese takes about 500 gallons, so let us say;
- Cheese = 55 gallons
TOTAL = 1,000 GALLONS WATER FOR A BALLAKELLY BEEF BURGER
We have not included onions, salad and a pint or added the 100% Manxness cost!!!!
SO when you come to find us at the Agricultural Shows this yea (dates) we request that you leave your dirty cars at home, the farmers wont notice if you haven’t washed them we never wash ours and walked to the show so reducing both your carbon and water footprint!! See you there 😊
Ballasteen in May
10 Days Ago
Moved the electric fence