Farmer Focus: Media more obsessed with weather than farmers?

Unusually, I find I can start this month’s piece in the same way as the last. It has been an absolutely amazing spell of weather; blazing heat and not a drop of rain.

If it weren’t so damaging to have no rain for 10 weeks, this summer would have been a joy. 

Haymaking and the barley harvest were completed by the end of the first week in July, and wheat is almost done in the same month – a first for me.

See also: Harvest 2018: High straw value softens yield woes

One year we did finish half of the wheat by the end of July, but unfortunately it took until the middle of September to finish the job. Let’s hope it’s not the same this year. 

Not getting through

The popular press has inevitably scrambled for a weather story. I seriously think they are more obsessed with the weather than we are. 

Never being one to miss an opportunity to promote food and farming, we have been kept fairly busy here at Euston with various interviews.

Only one, which spoke of wheat products having to increase in price as a result of the drought, has frustrated me.

I had to point out just how little value the wheat has in most products. Indeed, I suggested that if the price of wheat were to double, it would add less than 10% to the price of certain foods.

I appreciate that when you make the same comparison to the cost of animal feeds, the increase in price needs to be significantly more. 

But how to educate our customers about this? I suppose we just have to keep on with the message and hopefully they will eventually pay attention. 

We could do our bit and get the public onto farm. How many of you engage, host school visits, or have the WI round for a visit? 

I have calculated that we spend well over 100 days a year here at Euston going to schools, hosting visits or similar. That has to be a challenge to others to put at least a small amount of effort in.   

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