FARMER FOCUS: help with rejuvenating game cover strips

In my last article I had a rant about food waste; I thought this would enable me to get the subject well and truly out of my system. And it worked, until I read in this very magazine that 35,000 cattle were slaughtered in 2012 to help eradicate TB.

What a ridiculous waste of food – and it could go twice as far if they send it to Romania to be blended with Shergar.

But seriously, it must be time for the talking to stop and someone to “grow a pair” and make a decision. The government seems to have no idea what is going on and the whole thing seems to me to be descending into a state of farce. Surely if most of the public knew this many cattle are thrown away, in effect, they would have more sympathy regarding a badger cull. I bet Brian May won’t put that in a song.

Food waste: done.

Although the weather is far from perfect, we have finally managed to get out of the yard and get some nitrogen on all the crops, and, hopefully, things will warm up to get them going.

The land is as wet as I have ever known for this time of year and the prospect of ploughing 28ha of game is worrying me. We are looking at direct drilling and introducing new plant species to act as cover that can stay in for a few years. Any tips would be very welcome, as it is difficult to enforce change when maize has done such a good job, but it is destroying the soil after 20 years of being ploughed and mauled about at the wrong time of year.

If we beat Italy, it will be off to Cardiff to go for the grand slam. Please, whatever happens do not lose the slam to Wales; I can’t be doing with a year of smug Welshman.

Richard Cobbald is farm manager for West Wratting Park Estate near Cambridge. The 1,300ha of heavy soils grow wheat, oilseed rape, sugar beet and spring barley

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