Farmer Focus: Philip Bradshaw’s prayers for rain answered

After weeks of desperately needing rain, we finally had our prayers answered on the weekend of 6 and 7 June when significant amounts fell. We then had more throughout the week.

I spent most of that weekend at an Open Farm Sunday event at nearby Thorney. This annual event, held on Michael Sly’s farm, is organised by several local farmers, including me.

This year it had the added attraction of some working vintage machinery courtesy of the Peterborough Farm Machinery Preservation Society.

Happily, despite the wet weather, we welcomed close to 2000 visitors. All seemed to enjoy seeing both the older machinery, and learning more about modern agriculture from the many farm stewards, who were all keen to re-connect with their customers.

As a Fenland farmer, with much of my land at or below sea level, I naturally take an interest in drainage and water management, and I’m a member of our local internal drainage board here at Whittlesey.

So I’m concerned with some of the content of the Pitt Review of flood risk management, which advocates placing more responsibility on local authorities to manage surface water.

This could threaten the existence of farmer-run drainage boards, most of which do an excellent job of managing water locally. I would urge anyone interested to look on the DEFRA website and express their views in the ongoing consultation.

This season I’m pleased once again be growing demonstration plots of sugar beet and wheat varieties, both for KWSseeds.

There will be an open day on Tuesday, 7 July, and we’d be pleased to see a good turnout for a look round the plots and the barbecue of locally-produced beef that follows.

I’m happy to pass on names to the company for an invitation to anyone who drops me an email request.

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