Courtesy of Phil Brookes, National Sales Manager (UK)

July 2021

The month of high summer with the longest of days and the warmest of nights.  A wise person said “never trust a July sky“ one minute as clear and blue as could be, the next black with the thunder for all to hear and see.
With frequent rain showers over the past weeks we go into July with everything on the farm growing well.  Grass has grown, giving better grazing conditions and improved silage volumes.  Cereals and potatoes are looking good in the fields although the feeling is that everything seems about three weeks behind where it should be due to the very changeable weather we saw early on in the Spring and those late frosts we had.  Things that also have benefitted from these ideal growing conditions are the weeds and pests.  Control of these is a key ingredient to a successful harvest.
Spring planted crops like Sugar Beet and Maize certainly seem to be later.  The guiding rule for Maize is always that it should be “Knee high by the 4th July”.  In Cornwall I have seen pictures of some that is above this, however there is a lot as we move up the country that is not nearly there yet.  Maize is a hugely valuable crop to the dairy farmer as a forage feed which is both relatively dry and has high starch content.  It does grow very quickly and should catch up in growth terms as the last thing desired on farm is a late harvest of this crop.  Once harvest runs into late October and wetter weather comes issues arise with getting it off the land .
Sheep and beef prices have been very good and there is certainly a lot of optimism around the lamb market for next year already and new sheep breeding stock fetching very good prices ahead of the start of the breeding season in a couple of months.

Dairy cows have been milking well and the grass growth is helping to reduce production costs.  We are however, seeing continued price increases for feeds with global markets very volatile and there are some concerns that the price farmers receive for their milk will not increase in line with these input costs pressuring some producers to consider their future.  Since June 2020, 407 dairy farmers have left the industry leaving just 8,040 producers of milk in GB.  A fair price is all that is needed. For context, in shops bottled water is still considerably more expensive than milk!! 
All GB farmers need our support so please check when shopping and try to buy the British produced products for the barbeques, summer salads and strawberry trifles.
Make the most of the countryside now as it really is at its best. Take the time to Stop, Look and Listen..
More next month.

Phil Brookes

See also