Farmer Focus: The irrigators are on already

For us here at Valetta, the entire autumn and winter lamb finishing programme comes together in the space of about six weeks.

Lambs come off green feed winter crops, go out on to young grass seed crops and, all going to plan, have compensatory growth rates on young grass growing exponentially.

We need to time those lambs being up to weight with the closing dates of the various varieties of grass we grow for seed.

See also: France announces partial ban on glyphosate

We have just finished lambing the ewes and the crop looks very encouraging, with only two wet days for the entire lambing, but that is a sign that we are drying out quickly and early.

Get serious

Year to date, we are sitting at not much more than half our average rainfall and have started irrigating, mainly to water in fertiliser applications and activate pre-emergence herbicides on radish and pea crops.

We will need to get serious about watering next week if rain does not arrive.

The dry has meant our dairy farmer feed customers are using more grain than expected.

This is good for us and encouraging for the clearance of grain out of the harvest, but as we deliver to all our customers ourselves, it is keeping us on our toes to ensure their feed silos never run empty.

I am in late tonight after delivering three loads to one farm that will tide them over for seven to eight days.

While October is very hectic, it is also very heartening to see all the different strands of the farming system come together, as the livestock, arable and feed supply all interact.

General election

By the time you read this, we will have gone to polls as a nation in our general election. We are a country in trouble, like so many.

Lockdowns, while delivering a good health outcome, have punished many businesses and resulted in unprecedented levels of government borrowing to provide stimulatory support.

Closed borders result in a stuffed tourism sector and a fair chunk of our foreign earnings evaporated.

Unfortunately, but predictably, the agricultural sector has been a football again, which is ironic given that largely it is what we grow and sell that is keeping the lights on down here currently.    

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