Last Saturday 40 Villager readers came (as advertised previously) to Hall Farm to look at the crops and woodland to see and hear a little of what goes on in the fields surrounding the village. It was great to be able to show people around the fields – the tractor and people trailers taking the visitors to places they would not normally visit were a great success. If there is sufficient interest we may do another farm tour in May 2020.
The comments were interesting and there was surprise at the different views of the village, the complexity and integration of modern farming with the natural world and the amount of wildlife in the fields. One particular success was when in a field of spring beans the two tractors crossed the field about 100 metres apart but abreast of each other so effectively flushing the wildlife. 14 hares were counted, including 2 that were “boxing”, a deer, buzzard and badger sett were also seen in that field and the skylarks flying overhead could be heard.
Gillian Baird, whose family used to own some of the land that we visited, has written an article for this edition of the Villager describing the changes she saw in the crops, fields and landscape since that time.
The weather has been great this spring with warmth and rain. The winter rainfall measurements are as follows October 2018 to the end of April 2019 653 mm (26.4 ins) – the corresponding rainfall in 2017 and 2018 was 640.5 mm (25.9 ins). We have received a further 29 mm (1.2 ins) in May. The 12 month rolling rainfall total until the end of April is 889 mm or 36 ins.
These figures are at odds with the perception that it has been a very dry winter and spring. These levels of rainfall will mean that there is quite a lot of water in the ground and should be sufficient to keep any plant with a reasonable root structure growing happily.
The crops are looking good and by the time you read this the applications to the crops will be almost complete. All fields and crops are different but as a guide the wheat will have cost about £300 per acre to grow – this covers seed, fertiliser, sprays and machinery operations. On the farm tour I asked for guesses about field sizes – very quickly most became good at estimating the acreage. The field to the right of the Childer Hill road facing the village is 25 acres. Therefore when growing a wheat crop the investment in just that small field would be about £7500 – it actually has a crop of spring barley this year but it is a field that most villagers see on a regular basis hence its use as an example.
[Please note that this message is not posted on behalf of Bentworth Parish Council and does not necessarily reflect the Parish Council’s policy]