Fertiliser shortages and food security solutions

We are really enjoying some lovely Spring weather at the moment; Tom is applying some fertiliser to the land to ensure we have a good crop of grass for grazing and making silage. However, it’s a scary job – the cost of fertiliser has risen many fold and availability is questionable. A great deal of fertiliser comes from Ukraine and Russia. The people of Ukraine are still battling to keep their country out of Russian hands; until a conclusion is come to, there will be no trade on either side. For now, we are using the farm yard manure to substitute some of the bagged fertiliser.

Cows know best
The dairy cows are out! They tell us when they want to go back to pasture, looking over the yard gate, rolling their top lip as they smell the grass growing. Just as in the autumn they make their desires known, then they stand at the open gate and linger, if they could talk , they may be saying: “really, there’s no grass out there and our feeder is full in here and our beds are ready with cosy straw.” However, we have to manage available feed, whether it’s grass or silage, and the state of the land – our clay soil soon gets wet, making it is so easy for those heavy cows plodding about to damage the sward.

Signs of Spring
The hedges are beginning to show green, with many flowers already out, primrose, wild daffs in the spinney, and many others. We seem to have more than our share of rooks and crows and wish the migrating portion would move on! The starlings have.
The thought of food security is now on many lips, the world supply of food, commodities, parts, building materials, fuel and so much more is being affected by the war, we can not rely of imports for our basic needs. Surely now is the time to waken up our desire to be more self-sufficient.
Lots of good agricultural land is being wasted, closed off for the land owners’ pleasure, or set aside with ill thought-out schemes to ‘help wildlife’. This is often new owners with little or no experience or concern. Land management is necessary whatever the end use is. Simply not using it for food production won’t provide the benefits to nature. The British farmer has been delivering food alongside nature benefits for years. Our field margins, hedges and woods are teeming with wildlife; corridors have been created to enable wildlife to move freely from one area to another. If a fairer price for food was paid to the farmer, even more could be done.
Kimbers Farm Shop,
The Kitchen, Somerset Trading Barn, BA9 8HD 01963 33177
Open Tuesday – Friday: 8.30am-5pm;
Saturday: 9.30am-4pm.

By Ruth Kimber

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