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Farming section:Layout 1

10/19/17

MENDIP TIMES

3:19 PM

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Weather creates a nightmare harvest

WITH two ploughing matches cancelled because of the wet conditions, at least the Mendip Ploughing Match took place at the end of September. It was a great gathering of the farming community, with very interested visitors as well. The champion ploughman was Bill With MARY Tonkin from Crediton in Devon. JAMES MBE The farming community was well served with local markets years ago. They were great places for buying and selling as well as having a good chat and complaining about the weather! How times change. Living in our area the nearest markets are at Sedgemoor and Frome. It is not surprising therefore that a Great British Breakfast organised by the Addington Fund attracted many farmers and friends. Held at the Wellsway, East Harptree at the end of September it raised a substantial amount for the fund. The Dairy Show at the Bath and West Showground was brilliant and a great success despite the disparaging remarks of a columnist in a local paper which were quite uncalled for. There is another group which is gathering farmers and rural businesses together which is the North Somerset Rural Business Forum, meeting in the winter months at Mendip Spring Golf Club, Congresbury. Membership includes farmers, farm managers, those working in rural businesses, consultants, providers and managers of financial services, the supply trade as well as

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PAGE 10 • MENDIP TIMES • NOVEMBER 2017

Supporting the Addington Fund: (back left) Jonathan Cheal, a solicitor from Mogers Drewett, and James Stephen, a partner in Carter Jonas (back right), with breakfast host Maxine Gibbons and Ian Bell, chief executive of the Addington Fund. Other sponsors of the breakfast included Old Mill, Barclays, Framptons and the MidSomerset Agricultural Society

those with an interest in rural businesses. Email Richard Cooksley Richard@cooksleyandco.org for more info or phone 07801435772. There is an impressive line-up of speakers. The October one was the president of the NFU, which will have taken place by the time you read this, followed by Richard Williamson, managing director of Beeswax Dyson farming on November 16th. All meetings start at 7.30pm and there is supper which needs to be ordered in advance. Back to the weather. On the whole it has been a difficult soggy affair this year. If hay was made early at the end of May into June then it was a reasonable crop. Looking at the area overall and further afield other crops fared badly apart from early ripening winter barley which was harvested with little fuss and no drying costs which is most important I am told the harvesting of oilseed rape was a nightmare. It is important to get the crop dry enough before starting to cut. But with intermittent rain it meant taking a chance and perhaps incurring drying costs to bring moisture down from 12/13% to 9% as is required. Think about the huge cost of drying. The same thing happened with wheat as well as spring barley, beans and linseed. If you held on for a few fine days in succession another wet day or days came along and you waited again unless you set the expensive drier working. Therefore we had an extended nightmare harvest this year. A friend who was in Lancaster on September 17th tells me there were hundreds of acres of wheat still to be cut. I felt quite guilty singing “All is safely gathered in” at a service at the end of August.

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Issue 6 - Volume 13 - Mendip Times  

Celebrating life on the Mendips and surrounding areas

Issue 6 - Volume 13 - Mendip Times  

Celebrating life on the Mendips and surrounding areas