Harvesting in glorious weather

The UK wheat harvest has been more fortunate than both the USA and European harvests this year.

The UK wheat harvest has been more fortunate than both the USA and European harvests this year.

First published in Rural Focus by , Head of Sport

MY father took the weekend off! writes jo Parsons.

Unless you know him, you cannot appreciate how shocking this statement is but it is testament to how great summer has truly been.

August is traditionally a busy month but usually with the threat of bad weather always nipping at our heels.

However, this year the weather has been so glorious that the harvesting is getting ahead of itself.

In fact, Dad is in danger of finishing all the grains this week, leaving only the peas to go.

The UK’s harvest usually yields 15 tonnes of wheat, a crop grown here since Roman times that now covers two million hectares of our small island. Poor Europe, with its huge crop areas, hasn’t had quite the weather we have, though, and there are some serious concerns for the wheat quality in mainland Europe.

The USA has had exactly the opposite problem, with more than half of the wheat area in drought.

These factors should lead to further potential exporting opportunities for the UK, especially if you also take into account the fact that we are waiting to see if the US and EU sanctions on Russian banks will have an impact on grain traders.

The weather has also brought out a lot of walkers on our land.

We are fortunate to be in such a beautiful part of the world and generally very happy to share our land with Public Rights of Way, but it is disheartening to see the rules ignored at the cost of our livestock.

Unfortunately a good few hours were spent hunting down and rounding up dozens of cattle last week when a thoughtless person left a gate open.

Aside from the damage this did to several neighbour’s gardens (apologies), the idea of the risk to our animals careering in front of a car was awful. I know I am preaching to the choir but please do observe the rule to leave a gate exactly as you found it.

If you see a public right of way across a field, do not drive your vehicle into the field, leaving the gate open. Park appropriately near it or you could be responsible for, at best, some very unhappy gardeners or, at worst, a tragic accident.

Tonight sees the return of the Channel 4 show First Time Farmers at 10pm. A fantastic and insightful look into how young farmers begin their careers on the farm, while balancing farm responsibilities with studying – and enjoying themselves.

Wilton House is hosting the annual Wessex Country Fair on Saturday, August 16. A fabulous day out for all the family and a perfect way to celebrate all things produced locally while raising money for Salisbury Hospice. The Traditional Beef Company will be there, so pop by for some delicious beef burgers.

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