Farming column – March 2017

It has been a long somewhat dismal winter with very little in the way of frost or snow.  Some good hard frosts are very good for keeping diseases under control both in humans and in our crops. Fungal diseases like mildew thrive in damp mild conditions which means more chemical sprays on cereals to keep it under control.

Spring has definitely arrived as I write in mid-March, the daffodils are in full bloom and there is always an impressive show of violets up The Long Balk. If you walk up there on a calm day you have the pleasure of their wonderful scent.  It is a good time to plant trees and shrubs and having bought some fruit trees in a charity auction Rachel & I have been creating a small orchard in a corner of a field up Slingsby Heights (picture above).

On the farming scene there has been a welcome increase in the prices of cereals and oilseed rape.This seems to be due to Brexit and the fall in value of the pound against the euro and the dollar. The negotiations to leave Europe will be long and tedious which means several years of uncertainty in the farming sector.  We hope it all works out well for everyone in the end.

Stephen Prest

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