Make or Break for Arable Farmers

Deer Stalking over Arable farms. 

Many who make it their business to be in the UK countryside will be aware of the unusual state of our arable farms. Where normally fields would by now be covered in a 'green hue', or in the case of Oil seed Rape, in knee high growth, the fields instead remain barren and brown.

So what's the reason behind this? Well I don't want to whinge and moan about the weather all the time. After all the UK has always suffered from periodic bad weather, however....it's the weather.

Continual rain during the traditional planting time last year simply meant that many farmers did not get a chance to plant, and instead pinned their hopes on a sufficiently mild spring in order to sow spring crops.

Well as we all know the much hoped for spring has as yet not arrived.  

So what's all this got to do with Deer Stalking? Well farming, forestry and field sports, including Deer Stalking are all interlinked and interdependent. To site one such example.  

Over one particular farm on which I shoot in Hampshire, the fundamental reason for my being allowed to stalk is driven by the farmers desire to keep Fallow Deer off his crops. And one of the crucial periods for doing so is during the period when the newly sown shoots start to appear. As all Deer Stalkers know, crops at this stage prove irresistible to many herding deer.  

Well with this year's late planting there will be little that I can do. With the Fallow Doe season now over and the Fallow buck season over in just a few weeks time I will be unable to assist as herds of fallow traipse out into the fields to graze on the newly sprouting crop.  

When faced with such poor weather I suspect that Deer are of marginal concern to arable farmers, however this will be yet another factor in what some commentators have remarked may be a 'perfect storm'.

With an oversupply of grain from other countries around the world anticipated this year many UK farmers may find that they are only able to produce lower yields of grain in a year when due to the oversupply of grain elsewhere, their commodity will be fetching record low prices. Essentially creating a lack of value and a lack of supply.  

Troubling times ahead, let us all hope for a break in the weather in order that farmers can get their sowing done and salvage a late harvest. 

 
Red Kettle

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