Travel puts wet weather into perspective

Having just about got used to being at home again, as you read this I will be preparing to jet off again on more Nuffield travels during February.

Since I last wrote and following my time in New Zealand I spent the end of my five-week tour India. For almost all of my time in India I was in the Northern Punjab region, visiting farms in and around Ludiana and the Punjab agricultural university, which is based in the city. While the Punjab is seen as a very progressive and highly fertile agricultural area, I hadn’t appreciated how much agriculture in India relies on irrigation. Free electricity and a guaranteed price for rice has caused the water table in the Punjab to fall to worrying levels and steps are now be taken to prevent rice planting in May by switching the power off for all but an hour a day. Having just endured at least three very wet years, to see so much importance being placed on water seemed to make our 2012 more acceptable.

Everywhere I’ve been so far – China, New Zealand and now India – they were pumping water and for most of them it’s from a diminishing supply. I’ve now started researching my next tour that will see me travelling to Chile, Peru and Brazil in February and it seems much of their cropping is again heavily dependent on irrigation.

Calving will be just about under way at Dolphenby as you read this, almost 500 to calve in 10 weeks should help keep minds focused on spring and an early turnout. So far, winter’s been very kind and we’ve actually seen some grass growth since being fully housed in mid-November.

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