Courtesy of Phil Brookes, National Sales Manager (UK)
Well, what a Spring we are having so far!! March recorded the warmest daytime temperature for 53 years at 76.1 degrees and everything started to warm and grow, then April came along and is now officially the Frostiest April for 60 years which of course stopped and in some cases killed whatever early growth was being seen. Then we come to the old expression “April showers bring May flowers“. Well, there will not be many flowers on Aprils shower record as it has been one of the driest on record and in many parts of the county there are drought warnings and notices to be careful when out in the countryside as fires are a real risk due to the dry grasses.
On our farms this weather is always an uncontrollable issue too for so many reasons.
The Spring planted seeds need water to germinate and grow. The grass for grazing needs both water and warmth and the frosty nights have not helped at all.
The sheep out in the field with their lambs need the grass to graze to make milk to feed their lambs and it is not growing fast enough for their needs. Some sheep are being fed purchased supplementary feed to ensure they have enough nutrition. This is extra cost for the farmer but essential.
The dairy cows should all be grazing well now and we have what is known as the “Spring flush” of milk supply but the dry weather has very much reduced the milk from grass production, many dairy cows are being supplementary fed to maintain milk production in fact we are still seeing strong Megalac sales.
Silage harvests in the South should be well underway now and reports are, of very low volumes of grass being harvested and this first cut of silage is traditionally the largest and the best quality in most cases. We will have to see what knock on effect this has as the year progresses. Will later harvests catch up the volume shortfalls?. Certainly, looking after what silage you are getting is Vital and a great Ecosyl opportunity.
When it does start to rain it will probably not know when to stop!
It is not all weather misery though. Farm produce prices are very strong at the moment and although input costs are high this is helping to keep the optimism going at farm level. We have some of the best produce in the world produced to the best of standards and we should all be very proud of that and continue to support British farming in our shopping habits. With lockdown easing and us all having the opportunity to get outside into the country we can all enjoy the great scenery this Country affords us.
More next month.