Arable farmers are taking advantage of this dry spell allowing us to drill winter crops in near perfect conditions. Dairy farmers are busy harvesting maise to feed their cattle during the winter months.
This time last year we were already wallowing in mud; field work ceased until a brief dry period in February, and our cattle were already housed to prevent them poaching the grass fields.
The dilemma this year is to decide what exactly to plan for the year ahead. Everyone I speak to is going into some scheme or other, most of which will result in less food production. Should we be concerned as the world population is not exactly declining and millions are moving from southern continents towards the northern hemisphere?
If we are changing how we farm in Britain where we have relatively moderate climate conditions, what will happen to populations living hand to mouth off subsistence farming who are already suffering malnutrition and the effects of climate change?
What about the refugees displaced by war, terrorist insurgency and civil war? The list is long including Cameroon, Chad, Algeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Yemen, Tunisia, Niger, Uganda, Ukraine, Afghanistan and now Israel to name some of over 30 countries currently at war.
The mantra is ‘public money for public good’. Surely if the public realised farmers are being paid not to produce food which in due course will result in most of the food on supermarket shelves being imported, they will surely start to ask questions. If we are not very careful, by then many of the farms and farmers will have disappeared.
I don’t believe we can feed the nation entirely out of polytunnels or laboratories and it is debateable whether Hydroponic and Vertical food production is the long-term answer. They are currently all the rage but these ‘farms’ are expensive to build and set up. They are vulnerable to power cuts, water borne diseases and problems that affect the plants which react quicker. They require constant monitoring and maintenance and are limited in the type of plants they can grow.
On the other hand, this system requires no soil, conserves water, facilitates a microclimate, produces high yields, and requires less labour.
I have never seen the point of Party conferences. Other than generating events for media presenters to attend and give listeners their opinions, of which we are tiring, and allowing politicians a platform to preen and voice their aspirations, most of which are unattainable, they are a complete waste of time.
Those who tend to shine are the least able, and the grafters who get things done, work hard in their constituencies and have the most common sense, either don’t go at all, or turn up briefly to appease their ‘leader’ before heading home.