The Lupins are now about a foot high and any day now will burst into flower. Unlike when growing winter field beans we have not brought in additional bees to aid pollination. I have been advised by the experts that it is important to keep the crop which is being grown for seed, as pure as possible so it is important that there is as little cross pollination with other crops in the area.
Last week we managed to take advantage of a rare still day and spray with a herbicide to keep the crop weed free. So now we can only watch and wait to see how the crop yields in mid –August.
Last week I travelled into Norfolk, quite an adventure for me who rarely ventures out of Sussex. I was very impressed by the crops alongside the M11 and towards Newmarket which looked lush and well advanced. I was surprised by the amount of winter barley, I think they must have had less rain in the autumn than we did and of course the soil is considerably lighter.
There was certainly very little winter barley sown in Sussex which is why there is so much spring barley. Ours has struggled but at last seems to have got away though patchy where the ground is particularly heavy and was still quite wet at the time of planting.
I had my regular call from Hugh Schryver of Glencore on Friday letting me know that grain prices have fallen further. Hugh is able to pass on this gloomy information, remind you that you could and probably should have sold to him months ago at a higher price, and justify the drop as ‘due to global high yield expectations’ amongst other things. He does so with such charm that one feels almost obliged to sell to him out of gratitude that he bothered to call you and pass on this negative information. No doubt it takes years of practise to develop and hone such a talent. Anyway, so far I am resisting his charms and sticking firmly to my conviction to keep my grain crop unsold for now and keep watching the market.
China has recently for the first time in years bought heavily from France. This and the prospect that Asia will also probably look further afield for wheat, and there is still unsown maize in the US gives me hope that grain prices could well rally later in the year.
This week we shall cut the grass for hay as there is a healthy looking high heading our way. So by next weekend the barns should be full of sweet smelling meadow hay which will hopefully not have been rained on.
It was interesting to read that the met office held a summit meeting in Exeter recently. The purpose for this gathering was to decide why it has predicted for the past 13 years that the British climate will get considerably warmer when for 12 of those 13 years it has been colder.
The outcome of this meeting was that they had no idea but it was decided the fault probably lay with sea temperatures, which of course they concluded could not have been predicted. Fortunately there was no reference to CO2 emissions or man-made global warming, though this does make one wonder who has been advising whom on climate change?
Why are our coast lines and open spaces being littered with useless wind farms? Why are we all paying exorbitant energy prices to subsidise commercial green energy companies and filling government coffers, and why has it taken so long for Tim Yeo MP to resign as chairman of the House of Commons energy and climate change committee?
As has been heavily reported Mr Yeo was recently caught out by a sting set up by Daily Telegraph journalists who offered him a bogus £7,000-a-day consultancy contract with a solar company. He has since contested this and released a statement denying that he had breached the MP’s code of conduct and had made no commitment to work for the reporters who were posing as lobbyists.
The revelation that each wind-farm job has cost consumers £100,000 is shocking but hardly surprising. Perhaps it is time to set up an independent team to look into climate change, alternative energy, conventional energy reserves and provision. Are there people who are not tainted or corrupted by commercial links, or whose egos would not be dented if the years of scientific research were to be exposed as inconclusive and unsubstantiated. I am beginning to wonder if there is anyone out there who would qualify or who would be willing to apply!
Carola Godman Irvine