Tuesday 10 October 2023

Last Silage Cut, Changes in Farming

It is nearly the middle of October and we are having something of an 'Indian summer' these last few days which means there is a last ditch attempt to get in the final cut of silage while the weather is so glorious. The Farmer and the Sons are all out on tractors for long days and into the nights (Elder Son didn't finish till midnight last night)to get the grass in before the weather breaks and we begin the run into winter. The Farmer goes off about 10.30am armed with a flask and box of sandwiches and reappears at about 5.00pm in time for feeding the calves at milking time and then may have to go off again to finish up the day's silaging. There is a sense of urgency about it all as we are fully aware that after the wet days of recent weeks to have this window of dry sunshine is a bonus for the year. It is unseasonably warm at the moment and I'm still seeing butterflies in the garden but there is change coming in with drops in temperature promised, so 'carpe diem' is the motto at present. Life in the valley is jogging along with our neighbouring farmers all busy like us with last minute grass cutting, though the number of farmers in the valley is so reduced that the actual work of farming is being done by fewer 'real' farmers. When I came to live here nearly forty years ago there were twelve dairy farms in the valley now there are two, of which we are one. The farms have been bought by incomers who want their little piece of heaven and somewhere to keep a horse or two but do not want or need the acreage of land that comes with a ex-dairy farm so the house is sold with say ten acres and the remaining hundred or so is let or sold to farmers who do not actually live in the valley so farm the land remotely, so to speak. It is scenario that is played out all over the country and as result more land is being held by fewer farmers. Another side to this is that anyone wanting to get a foothold in farming has to have great deal of money with which to purchase a useful acreage unless they inherit or marry land. Land ownership becomes an almost impossible goal for many young people wishing to enter agriculture.

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