The wet weather continues, and without a frost. Thus means that to date, we have not been able to pull through any of our min-tilled land that is waiting for spring sowing, which is now looking like a pretty decent lawn.
I am considering opening a pop-up organic golf course to be returned to food production in September 2020.
However, this weather tends to even out, so I am predicting a fantastic spring, with ample opportunities for the best spring seed-beds in living history. Fingers crossed.
Away from the farm, it is conference season. I usually attend the alternative Oxford conference, as if there is ever a time to be challenged, now is that time, and the “real” farming conference definitely does that.
Among many of the topics debated, declining biodiversity on our farms is a constant theme, and last year’s State of Nature report showed we were still in a worse position than three years ago.
At Shimpling Park Farm, we first became involved in environmental schemes in 1998, and have been keen participants ever since, so it is depressing to see that negative trend.
As farmers, we tend to take these results personally, but these schemes have been designed and monitored by non-governmental organisations that are now pointing the finger at us, the willing partners, and telling us we need to do better.
Surely the shoe should be on the other foot? Farmers I meet are extremely keen to address the problem, but we are not the experts.
So come on, you environmental sages, you have twenty years of our data. Let us know what we need to do, pay us a fair price to deliver those outcomes, and let’s get on with it.