Quadring farmer’s long holiday job

Michael Featherstone with a top dresser that has been on the farm since his grandfather's time. SG250413-118TW
Michael Featherstone with a top dresser that has been on the farm since his grandfather's time. SG250413-118TW

Michael Featherstone jokes that he has had the longest summer vacation job in the history of casual labour.

In 1977 his grandfather Jim suggested he spend the summer working on the family farm at Quadring, Barholme Farm.

It was meant to be a stopgap until he considered what he wanted to do with his life.

He ended up working with his grandfather and then, when he retired, his father Norman.

Now Michael is running the 90-acre farm, growing corn, sugar beet and brassicas, such as cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts.

He runs it single-handedly, with help from retired local farmers at busy times such as the spring drilling programme that had just finished at the time of our visit.

Michael said: “It’s been a horrendous season with the amount of rain we have had and a lot of fields were flooded. It’s amazing how well the land has worked down this year, better than we thought it would do. We have had a lot of frosts and that helps to get in the soil and work it down.”

The greens are planted right through the season, although Michael found it impossible to plan a planting programme last year, and many of those that were planted were flooded and went purple and blue because the nutrients had been washed out of the soil.

Most yields were poor though the corn and spring barley didn’t fare as badly as Michael feared they would.