This summer has become a big problem for all types of farming. A prolonged heatwave and no rain for months means grass everywhere in the UK has simply stopped growing. A lot of pasture land resembles the fields of the American mid-west – dry and dead.
Cattle and sheep have no fresh grass to eat, so farmers are having to feed them the winter supplies of hay. Quite a worry, as they will still need hay over the winter too.
And grass has now become expensive. Normally, a ton of hay (3 or 4 big round bales) costs about £80. At the moment, it’s about £120.
This year’s cereal crops – mainly wheat and barley – and rape-seed are not as plentiful as they should be. The drought means the grains haven’t fattened up enough, so the amount of grain harvested will be less, which in turn will increase the price. A lot of barley is used for cattle fodder – so feeding cows will become more expensive.
The sunshine and warmth are a wonderful change from our normal summer experience, perhaps especially here in the north, and definitely after the snow-laden ‘Beasts from the East’ earlier this year!
And of course, farmers love sunshine just as much as everyone else. But when your workplace is the great outdoors, too much of it can be a problem!