16 August 2002


Giles Henry

Giles Henry rents 105ha

(260 acres) on a 10-year

lease and 114ha (280

acres) of heather moorland

near Selkirk, in the Scottish

Borders, which is in organic

conversion. Cropping is

mainly grass with 14ha (36

acres) of spring barley. The

farm is stocked with 450

breeding ewes, 85 hoggs

and 50 Luing cows with

followers and finishers

AS I sit writing this in gorgeous Mediterranean-like conditions, it is good to think that lamb and cattle prices are so good. Tony Blair has banned all meat imports in the light of the foot-and-mouth enquiries which have been published over the last few weeks.

Gordon Brown has devalued the £ so we are at a better parity with the k which is helping grain prices. Brussels has also agreed to pay us all the agrimoney compensation we are due despite the protestations of Margaret Beckett and co.

Major cities are setting up packs of foxhounds to deal with the urban fox population and pest control companies are recruiting faster than call centres to deal with the ever-increasing urban rat problem.

Whats that? Just the rain on the window waking me from my dream.

Yes, it is wet again. At least 625mm (2.5in) of rain has fallen here over the past few days and for those who are still in the middle of hay making, silaging or harvesting it has been a frustrating period. I know of one man who has had 40ha (100 acres) of grass down for two weeks now and not a bale made.

We have probably had a better period of sustained grass growth over the past two weeks than all year, despite the wet. Warm temperatures have helped growth enormously.

One problem these cloudy, close days without a breath of wind have thrown up is that the wind generator and solar panel that provide the power source for our poultry shed are not working. Therefore, every fourth day or so I am having to hook the tractor up for a couple of hours to keep the batteries charged.

The hens continue to do well, now at 43 weeks of age and still averaging 90% lay/day with an average egg weight of 65g. We will see a slight drop in egg numbers from now, but the increase in egg weight should compensate for this loss and egg income should stay on a pretty even keel for the next few months. &#42

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