So it’s a well known fact that cows eat grass! But what happens when it’s been hot, hot, hot for weeks on end, with no rain, and there is no grass?!
Well that’s the situation we along with loads of other farmers find ourselves in right now.
This picture was taken yesterday of one of our ‘grazing’ fields! Not very appetising or nutritious is it?
And the cows are getting hungry.
Putting them on a dust and burnt grass diet isn’t an option. So we, along with lots of other farmers have started to dip in to our winter supplies!!! In July – which is very worrying!
I’d be interested to hear what other farmers have decided to use? Have you gone for hay or straw or another solution to supplement the grass at this stage?
We know prices for straw bails are already going up and after the shortage of this for bedding last year, after a long wet winter, (fingers crossed we don’t have this again) this feels like a precious commodity we should save.
I don’t think there is any other industry whose prosperity each year is so closely linked to the elements. The one thing that none of us can control. So whilst the hot weather has been fantastic for my tan and beach trips this summer. It’s not necessarily going to be good for business.
Farmers all over the country are concerned about having enough feed for the cattle in the winter, as they’re having to start feeding some of their winter supplies now. This means that the prices of feed will go up, as there isn’t an infinite amount of it and so simple supply and demand principles apply.
And on the flip side, price for cattle at live sales will go down, as no one will want to buy more livestock, increasing the number of mouths they would have to feed, when they’re worried about feeding what they’ve already got.
So it leaves a lot of people facing some difficult decisions about how they will manage things over the next few months. Possibly forced to buy in at the top end of the market and sell out at the bottom. Or trying to sit tight and weather out the heat storm with what they’ve got.
I know beef farmers like us are not the only ones to have challenges, and the weather has impacted harvests of all sorts of crops and vegetables across the country.
We British love to talk about the weather, but on this occasion it’s justified and I’m reading updates and articles from lots of different sources, and talking to as many people as I can to try and understand the impact it’s having on the farming industry more generally.
So whilst you’re out enjoying the sunshine this week – which don’t get me wrong, I will be doing too! Share a thought for our cows and farmers who will feel more conflicted than anyone about the 2018 heatwave.
On the one hand enjoying the amazing, wonderful sun and on the other praying for some growing weather (aka rain followed by sun) to replenish their fields and cows stomachs again.