On the other hand those of us who still have quite a way to go before completing the grain harvest are beginning to worry. Having read the weather forecasts in the Sunday papers which predict that the summer is now over and it will continue to be wet until November; I am somewhat alarmed!
It is mostly wheat which still remains to be harvested and the crops I have just inspected before writing this column on Sunday evening are sodden. It will take a day or two of sun and windy conditions to lower the moisture of the grain enough to combine, but it looks as if there is more rain heading our way. The grains of wheat are now visible, this is a bad sign as it will encourage the pigeons to gorge themselves and settle on the crop and flatten it. Even a gentle breeze can lead to the grain falling to the ground.
Farmers are rarely satisfied with the weather conditions and this year is a good example of having the wrong weather at the wrong time. During the spring growing season it was too cold and dry and then it became too hot and dry. Now when we need some dry weather for harvesting it is far too wet!
However, it is indeed churlish of me to complain when we witness the hardship being faced in other parts of the world. The terrible flood in Pakistan which has wiped out the crops in huge regions and the pitiable sight of the locals who now have no food or clean water is indeed terribly. It is hard to imagine their distress and desperation, their futures look very bleak.
Russia is facing severe drought and extreme heat which has caused horrendous fires which have destroyed thousands of acres of grain and has reduced the grain harvest by a third. These and other extreme conditions around the world diminish our weather conditions and woos into insignificance. We are indeed fortunate that we rarely face such devastation particularly in our part of the UK.
There are increasing reports about the theft of hay around the country and a number of cases have occurred locally. We all know that the weather conditions which I have already mentioned, has resulted in greatly reduced hay and silage reserves.
In the past we have had to cope with vandals setting fire to hay barns for whatever perverse reasons, but now farmers and equestrian stables have to keep a closer eye on this precious commodity. Over many years there has been a steady increase in rural crime, particularly from and around farm yards, stables and rural businesses. I have been in communications with the District Council in another part of the county advocating that prevention is the best way to help prevent the theft of machinery, hay or even livestock and the most efficient way is to have as many eyes about as possible.
Hence it is helpful to have as many people as possible living on site, this is essential in more isolated cases. Where we have mobile homes for seasonal workers, when occupied we have no trouble at all but once the work is done and they return home the trouble starts. I now ensure that the mobile homes are occupied by a succession of people throughout the year, the result of which is we have no trouble.
The council officials were originally far from happy but now they have come to appreciate that there are different types of seasonal work. And with the support of our very practical Chief Constable who is also keen to encourage all preventative methods, particularly at times when he can ill afford for his officers to be caught up with what is often regarded as petty crime.
I would encourage anyone who has concerns about the security of their farm buildings, stables or rural businesses and possessions, to install a caravan or mobile home and offer a home to someone who can help to keep an eye, and if they have a dog which barks very loudly, so much the better.
Carola Godman Law