Lack of rain has affected future crops

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THE eagerly awaited rain came at last but I fear it has now gone again. We had enough precipitation as they call it, to lay the dust and freshen things up but we could really do with a steady downpour for about a week. Sadly the forecast is not encouraging.

Most crops came through the winter looking well and vigorous but as the weeks have run into months without rain, their potential yield at harvest has been reducing daily.

The crops planted this spring have struggled even more than the winter crops. They will not have established a root system with which to grasp any moisture available. Fertiliser which was spread several weeks ago could be seen laying on the surface in some fields. Hopefully this weekend’s showers have been enough to enable the plants to take advantage of this source nitrogen.

The blossom in the apple orchard was early and glorious but was over all too quickly. Fortunately the bee hives arrived just in time and hopefully the busy worker bees did a good job pollinating so I hope we will have a bumper crop in late August but this depends upon future rainfall. The new trees which we planted in March appear to be surviving so far. They also have produced blossom but I am concerned as they badly need a thorough soaking to help establish their root system.

The lambs are growing well and it will not be long before we can draw some of the early singles off. We continue to supplement their feed as I am doubtful about the quality of the grass, it has been under considerable stress and some is already going to seed which does not bode well for future growth.

It would be nice to take advantage of the current strong market price for lambs, and we will also send any remaining cull ewes. There is a healthy demand for lamb which could well be due to the BBQ season starting particularly early this year.

*There was a high turnout for the elections last week. I am certain it was the referendum which galvanised people into turning out so decisively to vote. The message was loud and clear, the British public do not wish to change the tried and tested first past the post voting system.

I suspect that neither do they wish to see the proposed meddling with our current system of government either. I would encourage Mr Cameron to drop any plans he and his coalition partners have regarding reform of the House of Lords. To introduce elected members to the Upper House would be a disaster and would achieve nothing. However I would caution against filling the place with chums. There have been a number of curious and unexplained new peers appointed during the past year.

*I thought last week that I had gone back in time and it was once again April Fool’s Day. There was an astonishing story in the press reporting that it is offensive and demeaning to call our pets ‘pets’.

Apparently our dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits and any other kind of domestic animals are demeaned and crushed by being referred to as ‘pets’. I gather they must from now on be called ‘human companions’.

Well - I have had a long and deep discussion with our four dogs over the weekend and it is my understanding from their reaction to my enquiry, that they don’t care what I call them as long as I take them for walks, allow them to catch bunnies, feed them regularly and occasionally make a fuss of them!