Having sown, nurtured and spent huge sums on the crops in the form of seed, herbicides, insecticides, fertilisers, diesel and labour, the product standing tall in our fields is the lifeblood which will hopefully inject funds into our now empty Bank accounts. This is a very lean time of year, everything seems to be going out and little coming in until the grain leaves the farm, and if we are lucky, we get paid a month later.
It feels like October, it is wet, windy and cold, and our spirits have plummeted.
We are having to pump out the farm foul water tank which also collects rain water off the barns and yards. It is vital not to overload the spanking new pair of pumps in the new drainage system. They let out a piercing alarm informing us when they are struggling, and also notifying us when we are sending too much clean water to the sewage works.
Having ordered a brand new pump last week to replace the original which was installed in 1991, it failed to work. Now the control panel needs investigating in case that, as John had suggested, is the culprit.
It would help if the ‘experts’ were able to pin point the problem immediately; this adventure to find the cause of the breakdown, is beginning to look rather more expensive than I had anticipated.
The cattle are relaxed and happy with the fresh lush grass which the rain is encouraging. However, several have been troubled with the flies this year, and unusually for the Sussex breed, we are having to treat several for New Forest eye infection.
There seems to be an excess of bugs of all types this year. The wasp’s stings are inflicting a nasty reaction resulting in an unusual amount of swollen arms and legs being reported widely. I suspect the chemists are having a run on antihistamine tablets and lotions, as we self-medicate to relieve the pain and swelling.
The school holidays have begun and roads are less congested; well they would be if there were not so many road works and road closures throughout Sussex.
With weeks ahead of carefree abandon for children, the advice from Bear Grylls for the young to abandon their computers and explore the outdoors is a good one.
Sadly for too many kids the opportunity to do so is not an option. They either live in cities far from the countryside, with only a nearby grubby park frequented by the unsavoury doing unmentionable things. Or they are littered with abandoned used needles and syringes. Where the opportunity does arise, parents are too often fearful to allow their children out of their sight.
The Sussex countryside offers wonderful opportunities to get out and close to nature, open spaces, parks, open farms, the South Down Way and the seaside. A wonderland offering children the chance to explore, exercise and run wild; even for just a few hours.
As Bear Grylls the inspirational Chief Scout said: “Every child has the right to adventure. Nature is the world’s best adventure playground and it’s open to all. I want girls and boys to be able to enjoy that freedom and develop a spirit of optimism, practicality and hope for the future.”
Farmers have been dumping Farm Yard Manure on motorways and slurry at major junctions. Tractors have been travelling at a snail’s pace along roads and blocking ferry ports, and pigs have been released into supermarkets.
These actions have taken place in France, but for similar reasons, these events could just as well be happening in the UK.
French farmers are angry, they believe up to 25,000 farms are under threat from bankruptcy as they struggle with low farm gate prices. A price war between supermarkets is driving prices so far down that many farmers can no longer cover their costs. Long cushioned from market realities by EU subsides they now battle to cope as Brussels has begun to cut price guarantees. And more recently some have been badly affected by drought conditions, caused by the hot weather.
The French are good at protesting, we watch the ongoing protests at Calais causing mayhem at ports on both sides of the Channel. The result affects tourists, and is crippling British industries attempting to move vital, and in many cases perishable goods, to markets across the continent.
I wonder if the British public would react with the same sympathy as the French, if our farmers, Taxi drivers and ferry workers took similar actions.
The French Government likes their farmers and has relented by giving them an aid package of £425 million. A short term sticking plaster which does not address this ongoing problem, which still has many miles to run.