Farming News – July 2020

by Malcolm Barker

The landscape has suddenly turned green since last month. The parched grass (which can reveal archaeological features) has become vibrant and is now growing fast.  Every resulting bale of hay and silage will be needed to feed livestock next winter, because the corn yields will be low due to the harsh months before June. In a droughty spring, it is only the deep rooted plants which thrive. Plants such as thistles, docks and nettles dominate the shallow rooted grass with which they compete.

This spring, even some trees have suffered and one sycamore of mine lost all of its leaves before they had been on the tree for a month.  Many trees have brown leaves this year, particularly those exposed to last month`s arid west winds. The rains which came in June will benefit us well into next winter.

July is a month to finish making the first crop of hay and to start harvesting the winter barley. It is a dry month with a few thunder storms, which were said to ripen the corn in olden times.