Charlie's November/December

Charlie's farm diary: November/December 2000

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These must be the two worst months in the year for the livestock farmer, I always thought so anyway, nights getting longer, colder and wetter, the only thing to look forward to is Christmas but this in itself only means more work for the farmer when just to get an hour or two off on Christmas day you have to do twice as much work on the days before to make sure all the animals will have all their feed and water, and if you are a dairy farmer the cows still have to be milked twice a day, every day.

This year has been particular dire with all the rain and floods we have had. Maize harvesting has been a nightmare in this part of the country it has been that wet in the fields the contractors have had to have two tractors pulling each trailer out of the fields, and then when they get on the road they have left that much soil on the roads the police have been on their backs, and the farmers have had to get the yard scraping tractor on to the road to keep them clear. It has got so bad in some cases that the maize has been given up as a bad job and left in the fields to rot!!

One plus for the dairy farmers this back end is that the milk price has gone up half a penny a litre, if it goes on like that it will soon be up to the cost of production!!!!!

The arable men usually have a better winter than the livestock producers with the corn all in and next years crops in and growing they can take it a bit easier around Christmas and take crops out of store and sell them but this year has been just as bad for them with crops still in the ground and no hope of getting the field work done now, ready to get the winter corn in. Potatoes also have been under water which will mean they will rot in the ground and be useless even if it did come dry enough to lift them.

All in all, it has been a rough old winter up to yet but once we get out of this month of December and days start getting lighter everything should start looking a bit better, hopefully we shall get a bit of frost to get rid of all the pests and viruses that we get about in this cold and damp, and also if we get a bit of hard frost we should be able to get on the fields to get some of the muck out that has been piling up in the farm yards.

On the wild life front we seem to be getting quite a few birds around here that have been rare over the last few years, maybe it is because of all the dairy farmers that have gone out of business and let their ground to beef men who are not as intensive as the dairy men were, only the other day I saw a couple of curlews in one of my fields, I hadn't seen any for at least 3 years and we had a skylark in the summer I hadn't seen one of them for as long as I can remember.

Charlie, December 2000

Next: January/February 2001