21 September 2001

Fields at standstill after downpours

HEAVY rain hit several parts of the country this week, bringing combining and cultivations to a standstill.

Demonstrations were halted at the East of England Agricultural Societys Cultivations 2001 event at Bedfordia Farming, Milton Ernest, Beds, on Wed, Sept 19. Tractors totalling 10,000 horse power were on site but only two real horses were working. These were Alfie and Taffie from Norfolks Banham Zoo, pulling a one-furrow Ransomes YL plough.

But the problem was not isolated. Farmer Focus writer James Maldon, who manages Stanaway Farm, Otley, Suffolk, was alarmed that almost 2in (48mm) of rain had fallen between Monday and Wednesday and it was still raining.

"We still have about 120 ha (300 acres) of wheat to drill and rain like this doesnt disappear quickly," he said.

The rain coincides with the start of the Environment Agencys annual flood awareness campaign. The agency, which will be operating its usual flood warming service (0845 988 1188), has warned flooding should be seen as a normal seasonal hazard. &#42