FARMING MATTERS: Cleaning up the countryside

The NFU says the government’s new Litter Strategy for England is a missed opportunity to tackle the scourge of fly-tipping as an environmental crime.

Opinion 4
A detail from the new footpath sign created by the NFU and the Kennel Club to encourage responsible dog ownership

FARMING MATTERS: Advice for dog owners

At this time of year when young livestock are in the fields it is even more important to keep dogs on a lead when out walking across farmland.

Opinion 2
Elizabeth Prior in The Treaterie at Waddesdon Manor with her Oliphant and Pomeroy ice cream. Picture copyright Heather Jan Brunt 2017.

FARMING MATTERS: High class ice creams available in new Treaterie at historic National Trust property

There’s an additional reason to enjoy a summer day out at the National Trust’s Waddesdon Manor this year, and that’s the opening of the new Treaterie serving delicious ice cream, waffles and crepes.

Opinion 3
NFU Back British Farming banner

FARMING MATTERS: Promoting British food

Farmers across the country are being encouraged to display large banners promoting home grown produce.

Opinion 5
Accidents involving machines are the most common cause of fatal injury in agriculture

FARMING MATTERS: Farm safety urged by NFU after month of fatalities

Farming is considered to be one of the most dangerous jobs and the NFU is urging members to take greater care after 10 fatalities, including a child, were recorded on farms in February alone.

A massive articulated lorry arrived for an overnight stay on the farm. Picture copyright Heather Jan Brunt

FARMING MATTERS: Overnight stop for articulated lorry

My husband and I were out late recently to welcome the livestock haulier, who had arrived to spend the night in his massive three tier articulated truck in preparation for a 6am start. Michael Brett expertly manoeuvred the 45 foot trailer plus tractor unit into our yard and showed me the inside of the impressive cab. It’s fitted out with a night heater, two bunks, a fridge freezer, television and all mod cons.

Opinion 3
The first phase of HS2 has been granted Royal Assent

FARMING MATTERS: Work on high speed rail line to start

As the first phase of HS2 has received Royal Assent, the National Farmers Union is urging fair treatment for the farming community.

Opinion 6
Ewe and lambs. Picture copyright Heather Jan Brunt

FARMING MATTERS: Getting ready for lambing

Spring is in the air (or at least, it was when I was writing this). The garden is a carpet of snowdrops, the daffodils are shooting through the grass, and speaking of the grass, that too is definitely growing and soon we shall be back into lawn mower season.

Opinion 2

FARMING MATTERS: Educating youngsters

Visiting farms is a popular pastime for families, which is why there is such an abundance of farm attractions and open farms these days.

Sugar beet

FARMING MATTERS: Sweet future for sugar beet growers

Sugar is not the first thing that comes to mind when people talk about farming. More usually we think of cattle and sheep and if considering arable crops, wheat and barley.

Opinion 3
David Bell, retired farmer and active pilot with Muscular Dystrophy, manoeuvres one of his light aircraft with the assistance of his TGA Supersport mobility scooter.

FARMING MATTERS: Scooting around the farm

Farming has long been considered to be one of the most dangerous occupations to work in, with exposure to potentially harmful chemicals, large machinery, unpredictable animals, and often working in isolation or in isolated places.

Opinion 1
Living an active life down on the farm

Keep pets fit and healthy

Pet obesity has become a major problem throughout the UK, with an estimated 4.6 million pets (including dogs, cats and rabbits) now considered as obese, putting them at a much higher risk of contracting illnesses like cancer, diabetes and osteoarthritis. And 81 per cent of veterinary professionals have expressed concern over the problem, having seen a significant rise in pet obesity in the last two years.


FARMING MATTERS: An Inspector Calls

Inspections take place in most industries and farming is no exception.

Opinion 1
Mike Tustin, a chartered forester with John Clegg & Co

FARMING MATTERS: Trees as a farm crop

Farmers are being encouraged to think of forestry as a means of diversification.

Opinion 2
The cattle are now indoors for the winter.  Picture copyright Heather Jan Brunt

FARMING MATTERS: The suckler herd comes in for the winter

This week the cattle came in for the winter. This is late by usual standards, but we’ve had a particularly dry season and so the land has been able to take it. And of course the cattle have received supplementary feed out in the field every day.

Farming Matters columnist Heather Jan Brunt serves up a traditional Christmas turkey.

FARMING MATTERS: Buy local for Christmas turkey

At this time of year thoughts turn to festive fare and the traditional turkey roast for Christmas lunch.

Opinion 4
Our columnist Heather Jan Brunt returns to riding after many years

FARMING MATTERS: A return to horse riding

When I was a teenager I rode all the time, in fact when I was younger I actually pretended to be a horse. I trotted as I pulled my father’s golf caddy around the course, and set up cavaletti jumps in our garden. My sister used to refuse to walk to school with me because I insisted on walking like a horse. As a teen I worked in the nearby riding stables and was also fortunate to have two friends with several horses who used to let me ride them in exchange for helping to look after them. And so I guess it was obvious that a lot of people imagined I would get a horse of my own when I married a farmer. Wrong.

News 1
Farming Matters.  Tree work in the garden. Picture copyright Heather Jan Brunt

FARMING MATTERS: Doing a spot of gardening

At this time of year the ground is usually too wet to do work involving heavy machinery, but we’ve had a pretty dry autumn and so my husband decided this was a perfect time to do some work in the garden.

Big tractors like these have changed the face of modern arable farming

FARMING MATTERS: Massive machinery is changing the face of modern agriculture

We don’t have a lot of arable land, therefore we have always used a contractor to harvest our crops. It wouldn’t make sense to fork out for an expensive combine harvester that is used on only a handful of occasions each year to harvest relatively small amounts of wheat, barley and beans.

Opinion 4
Farmers' wives have to be self sufficient

FARMING MATTERS: Self sufficient farmers wives

I wrote recently about farm safety and the importance of farmers staying in touch with their wives via mobile phone due to the isolation of their work. But that isolation doesn’t just apply to farmers themselves. All farming families are isolated to a degree, some more than others depending on the location of their farm. Children fortunately find company and socialisation at school and in organisations like the Young Farmers federation. Farmers’ wives of old traditionally stayed at home working on the farm or in the house, but that stereotype disappeared a long time ago. Many farm wives now follow their own careers off the farm, bringing them into contact with other people on a daily basis. But what about contact with their husband? Unless farmers’ wives DO work on the farm alongside their husbands, regular contact can be pretty sporadic. I’ve been checking out some blogs online from farm wives around the world and the one thing we all seem to have in common is spending evenings and weekends without our husbands who are outdoors 24/7; attending social occasions and family events without our husbands; and often feeling like a one parent family. So it appears that at least two of the qualities required for life as a farmer’s wife is a large dose of self sufficiency and an interest in hobbies and activities that don’t require a partner!

Opinion 2
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