First Cut Grass Silage
The end of May is the traditional time for grass and clover leys to be cut for silage. This year there was little growth at the start of the month due to the dry spring but, as the rain fell, the crop bulked up just in time. Perhaps a week later than planned, the first cut turned out well with good yields.
Poor Balls - Poor Leather
There have been complaints about the quality of the Dukes cricket balls this summer, they have been soft and lose shape easily. The first batch used in the county championship had to be replaced. A spokesman for Dukes suggested that the quality of the leather was poor, perhaps because the cattle had been fed a diet that impacted the hide. There was no suggestion of how the diet might be improved to result in higher quality cricket balls.
For some time the NFU has been calling for the phase-out of the Basic Payment to be delayed due to the unprecedented challenge of rampant inflation in farm costs. The introduction of ELMS might also be delayed as a consequence because the savings brought about by the phase-out is due to fund the new agri-environment scheme. Now some right wing Tory MPs, led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, are supporting the delay and calling for the scheme to be scrapped altogether to save money in the cost of living crisis. Farmers and conservationists are appalled by the suggestion.
Big Farmland Bird Count
The Big Farmland Bird Count took place again this year between 4th and 20th February. Over 19,000 farmers and gamekeepers took part covering one and a half million acres. 420,000 birds were counted of 130 different species, 26 of which are on the conservation red list. The most common were wood pigeon, starling, lapwing, fieldfare and rook, the middle three of which are red-listed. Organised by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, the count started in 2014 and has grown each year since.