Well, the weather has been amazing for harvest although the yields appear to be a little lower than last year. Straw has been in short supply and the prices seem to be climbing. Hay seems to be in demand although the price has not climbed as much as some would like. This has been an exceptional haymaking year, but with the very wet winter and the ground being waterlogged followed by the hot spring, the ground went from being rather wet to very dry in under two weeks, thus affecting the yields.

Having thoroughly enjoyed lockdown and been determined to continue with our newfound lifestyle, we seem to have been inordinately busy of late. Life seemed to have been going along at 15mph and now we have reached 100mph. Thankfully, home schooling has finished and thus far the commencement of “proper” school seems to be on the cards.

Unfortunately, Ted fell over on the trampoline and managed to spend most of the summer with a full cast on his arm! A trip to A&E had not been on my agenda. The NHS staff were amazing, coupled with the resilience of a three year-old and the body’s ability to heal; four weeks later he had his cast removed.
We then went on to have an utterly amazing summer holiday; camping in the garden seemed to be a hit with all concerned apart from myself who quite likes the comfort of a bed. Picnic lunches in the fields etc.

British Eventing has resumed in a “socially distanced” way and has been a great success. Zara has had some brilliant results so far this season. Unfortunately Pony Club camp was abandoned due to coronavirus and a two-‑day rally took its place. Amazing fun was had by all.

Combine chasing and the Trans-stacker has been a huge success. What a phenomenal piece of equipment it is. British designed and manufactured to an extremely high standard, it is capable of moving 1,000 bales in a day with just Fergus carting; it has to be seen to be believed. Taking a leap into the unknown is always unnerving but is also very reassuring when the decision is definitely the right one. Modern day farming at its best.

For many decades, agriculture has been associated with the production of essential crops. At present agriculture includes forestry, dairy, fruit, poultry, beekeeping, mushroom growing, livestock rearing etc. Today, processing, marketing, and the distribution of crops and livestock associated products are all acknowledged as part of the current agricultural system.

Agriculture plays a vitally important role in today’s society and is the backbone of the economic system in our countryside. In addition to providing food and raw materials, agriculture also provides employment opportunities to a large percentage of the population. Approximately 70% of people rely indirectly on the agricultural industry for a living, including haulage companies, restaurants, breweries, shop keepers etc. How do we endeavour to promote our industry? We appear to pay an incredible amount in levies to do so, but the effect would appear to be insignificant. If every industry worked together, they would become a formidable force. Is this an achievable goal?

During lockdown, the general public diligently used their local farm shops as food appeared to be in short supply. Since the queuing has dissipated and supermarkets have increased their opening hours, a small proportion of the general public has continued to fulfill the promises they made during lockdown.

Buying British with the confidence of knowing where your food has come from and that it has been locally sourced should play a huge part in everybody’s lives. Children need to learn this as soon as they enter primary school. The UK is certainly not self sufficient in food production. The country imports 48% of the total food consumed and the percentage is still rising.

The UK relies on both imports and a thriving agricultural sector to feed itself and drive economic growth. The last time the UK was believed to be self-sufficient was during the Napoleonic Wars, when importing food from continental Europe became exceedingly difficult. The only country in Europe to be self sufficient is France. Worldwide, Canada, Australia, Russia, India, Argentina, Burma, Thailand and the US can be classed as being self-sufficient. It is something as a country we need to be striving towards, especially in these uncertain times.