A south Lincolnshire farmer’s wife speaks out

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This started as a throw away – why don’t you write as a farmer’s wife? So I have risen to the challenge, writes Jane Davis.

The perception of a farmer’s wife is of her slaving over a stove all day, baking bread, making breakfast, ‘bait’, lunch, tea and dinner, all the while with a fixed cheery smile and red rosy cheeks, while simultaneously feeding chickens, milking cows and hauling bales – oh and driving the tractor.

The reality, particularly for a wife who works ‘off farm’, is somewhat different. Life is governed by the weather, or more specifically by water – of which there is never the right quantity on the right day. So nothing can be planned in advance, always handy when your bosses want, “all annual leave booked six months in advance”.

When I tell people we are arable, they think cornflakes, but look blank at the mention of sugar beet and oil seed rape.

The reality is we appear to be farming slugs, and I have yet to find out what can be done with a slug. The picture is the same everywhere – sodden fields, poor drainage, very few established crops. This cheers ‘Farmer’ up a bit, as it’s not just him, but worries us both. Last year was a bad crop year, and the establishment of the 2013 crop and the weather to date isn’t boding well either – for anyone.

But now its teatime and I need to go and put my bread maker on and consider how farming seems to be all slugs and windfarms – neither of which will fill hungry bellies.