The Bell Weather
After finishing typing out the last blog entry I started to wonder if drainage could be described as a bell weather section of the agricultural industry. Apparently, according to the oracle that is Wikipedia, Bell Weather is derived from an agriculture term! It refers to the practice of placing a bell around the neck of a castrated ram (a wether) leading his flock of sheep. The movements of the flock could be noted by hearing the bell before the flock was in sight. I’m not sure I want to be linked to a castrated ram, but I do get the impression that land drainage can help gauge confidence in the industry.
Whilst I would argue that drainage makes sense at any time, (to almost quote Mandy Rice Davis’ comments during the Profumo Affair “well he would really wouldn’t he”) most people are keener to put their hand in their pocket when times are good. Investing in a capital project is far more tempting if the repayment period is short and if good times ahead seem likely. In addition many people seem forget about drainage, it can easily be done. The efforts of drainage are hidden under three foot of soil, and before long the increased yields just become the norm. It’s not like a big, new, shiny tractor that grabs attention, drainage is something which is thought about, planned and carefully calculated. In part an investment in drainage reflects a farmer’s confidence is future.
If that is true, the good news for everyone is that we have definitely noticed an increase in the number of enquires we have had this year is comparison to the same time last year. If I’m wrong and drainage has no relationship to the rest of the agricultural industry, at least you can write a comment at the bottom of this page tearing my argument to pieces! I have no doubt about the reason why, but its arable farmers who are calling us up at the moment. Wet fields previously set-aside are being pushed into service and poor performing fields are no longer being tolerated. What does this mean, well a busy summer for us I hope, but always perhaps a little optimism for the whole of the farming world.