Sutton Bridge farmer preparing for harvest

Stafford Proctor.
Stafford Proctor.

Last week’s heatwave put crops under severe pressure and, although recent thunderstorms and showers have bought some relief to crops, soils are still very dry, writes Stafford Proctor.

The excessive heat ripened 50 acres of our vining peas too rapidly for the factory’s coolers and now the peas are not suitable for freezing. This is a timely reminder of the risks that all farmers face and the great extent that we rely on nature’s help to bring food to the table.

Preparation for the harvest fills our days – combines, tractors and trailers are ready, visibility improved from field entrances and health and safety issues tackled, and harvest helpers trained.

Meanwhile, difficult cropping choices must be made for harvest in summer/autumn 2016 with most of our crop values at historically low levels, not helped by the relative strength of the Pound against the weakened Euro.

We also await the outcome of a funding bid to the Environment Agency to improve a section of our Wash Banks protecting Wrangle and Old Leake. If successful, the EA, local farmers and the Internal Drainage Board will widen and raise the current flood defence.

We have just hosted a farm tour and on June 7 many farmers welcomed visitors for Open Farm Sunday. It was the tenth anniversary of this popular event and a great opportunity for people to learn how our farms grow quality food. Thank you to all who got involved. Our local farmers look forward to opening their farms again on June 5, 2016.