As UK combines start to roll it is good to hear that some decent yields of winter barley are coming off. Bushel weights are reported to be low, and we certainly have short straw. Although the crop got off to a good start, the unseasonal winter, spring, and early summer weather conditions did not encourage strong growth.
Our combine had an airing but once the grain reached the tank the moisture shot up above 18%. So back into the barn it went; we shall try again in a few days’ time.
We should spare a thought for farmers in Ukraine. Not only is the country under constant attack by Russian missiles, but they are also facing a shortage of labour as many of their most experienced farm workers have signed up to join the army.
Ukraine has long been known as the breadbasket of Europe. Its fertile black soil, large expanse of flat plains and deep Black Sea ports enabled the country to become a major exporter of grain across the world.
Agricultural exports are vital to the economy, making up about 12% of gross domestic product. Before Russia’s invasion about 60% of all exports came from the land, but the invasion has reduced this significantly.
Dutchman Kees Huizanga who farms 15,000 hectares, has faced many challenges but the one he never expected was to lose 40 of his 350 workers, who have signed up to fight in the war.
He has 2,000 milking cows plus young stock and grows a variety of vegetables and grain crops. He willingly gave machinery and money to the Ukrainian armed forces and says it makes sense for the military to take drivers used to working with heavy machinery such as combine harvesters or tractors. But he says he misses his main guy who used to repair all his machinery in the fields.
Boris is right, Nato must recognise the immensity of Ukraine’s sacrifice and the obligations this imposes on us in the West. They battle for freedom and democracy for all people around the world.
Nato leaders should have demonstrated beyond doubt their belief in the fundamental principle of the North America Treaty Organisation. They should make clear as Boris said that it is for a sovereign people to decide which organisation they want to join, and no non-member should veto them or hold them back.
He said “No country is in greater need of Nato membership. All the Alliance needed to do was to set out a timetable for membership a soon as victory is won”.
Putin continues his rampage of violence, destruction, murder and rape. He clearly believes he can get away with it as he sees weak leadership in Nato, the USA, Europe, and the UK. God help Ukraine.