Personally, I love hot weather. In in the distant days of foreign holidays I could laze in the blazing heat of the sun all day and never be fed up. I have loved the scorching weather that we have had since May. We deserve it after the harsh winter and wet spring that we’ve all endured, but I can’t push away the guilt I’ve felt for enjoying it, or the increasing sense of doom that lies ahead if it continues for much longer.
Most of our farm is on very sandy ground so our land dried up weeks ago and now resembles the foreign climes that I used to love to visit. We grazed the last of the grass over three and a half weeks ago and have been feeding all our stock the winter silage ever since then. We fortunately have some silage left from last winter and so are in a much better position than most.
Having spoken to friends and neighbours it is quite apparent that nationally there is a shortage of feed and consequently this is driving fodder prices up. Straw is more expensive than it was last year and very difficult to get hold of. Sadly the longer this glorious weather continues the gloomier the outlook is for British Agriculture. Hopefully processors and buyers will take this into consideration and pay a price for our produce which is sustainable, allowing the farmers that are currently struggling to afford to continue doing a job that they love.
Everyone is aware of the increasing risk of water shortages and as we are witnessing our gardens wilt more each day I don’t need to highlight these aspects. Our local reservoir is empty in places but as the older generation keep telling us, this was the norm ‘back in the day’. My parents speak of harsh winters followed by drought and brown hillsides in the summer. Perhaps we just need to be more prepared for weather extremes like people used to be.
The rain will arrive and when it does all of this will be a distant memory, but for now although the weather may be bright, farming in the short term is far from it.