I genuinely thought that this month I would be writing to report that we eventually caught up with planting all the wheat, and everything looks better than expected. However that didn’t happen as we are no further ahead than a month ago, so without further ado; the weather, slugs, crop planting and soil conditions are all banned subjects as we move towards Christmas, Keeping Warm for Winter.
Winter jobs are now well underway, which has started with some hedge laying. It is ideal to have a variety of different sizes, shapes, and ages of hedges to give habitat variety on the farm. Over the years we have planted several hedgerows, which are cut every two to three years with a tractor mounted machine to create a dense hedgerow. With some of the older hedges, if they are left for many years, eventually they become very big and lanky, requiring more extreme measures, as is the case with the hedge we are laying this year. It has become full of weedy trees rather than dense hedgerow, so we are cutting and removing many of the trees, whilst leaving a few healthy ones to enhance the landscape. Then the remaining understory of Quick and Blackthorn bushes are cut part way through at the base, before being pulled down and laid horizontally along the hedge line. These laid plants will sprout new growth in the spring. Once the hedge is laid, we will ‘gap up’ any spaces with newly planted hedging plants. The end result being a lovely stock proof hedge in a couple of year’s time that will be fit for another hundred years, as well as some great logs to keep us warm in the winter.
As well as work on the farm, I have been travelling around the country to various events. Of note, I spent an excellent day at the LEAF President’s event at HSBC headquarters in London, where we had some fascinating speakers on how food production is going to feed 9 billion people over the next 30 years in a manner that will look after the planet at the same time. Then there was breakfast with the Chief Economist of the Bank of England, as he travels the country gauging the pulse of the economy to help formulate future policy. A trip to a factory in Yorkshire to inspect my latest machine being built to filter oil; this was a surprise as they have built a major part of it incorrectly and unless they are planning for gravity to go up a hill, they will have to quickly rectify the issue before I take delivery of it.
In Farrington Oils, my Production Manager Rob has now retired after nearly five years with us. His passion meant that he never missed a customer order, and he made sure every bottle of oil produced was top quality. We wish Rob well in his retirement, and welcome Martin to the team, to take us forward over the next chapter in the Farrington Oils story.
The guys are flat out at the moment with oil production and orders as everyone is looking to buy our products ready for Christmas, whether it is to roast Christmas spuds or to buy a gift bag for a friend. Of course without our customers over the years we would not have a business, so from all of us here, a big thank-you to all of you who continue to support us. Have a lovely Christmas.
From LEAF Demonstration Farmer Duncan Farrington