Farming, of all kinds, is my passion. I started my career at Seale-Hayne Agricultural College in Devon, and have managed farmland, crops and livestock ever since. I am now the Farms Manager at Overbury. Fanatical about the education of everybody about, growing healthy crops, farming, food production, using technology, conservation and rural life. No-till Conservation Agriculture farm, 2013 Nuffield Farming Scholar and member of the Global Farmer Network
Well mother nature certainly has a great way of bringing us back down to earth with a reminder of who really is in charge! Last week we saw temperatures plummet to -8 degrees with added windchill taking the temperature down into double digits below zero. Then came Storm Emma sucking Siberian air across Europe and freeze blasting the UK.
In a funny kind of way we were very lucky to only have a few inches of snow, but when the wind blew the trouble started. Our small roads, bordered with beautiful hedgerows acted as sinks for the snow to settle in. Many of our roads, including the one to the main farm had 5' of snow drifts making them impossible to get through even with a 4 wheel drive truck.
Clearing snow on the Eckington Road
Like many farmers we have some good equipment that could be deployed to help clear the snow. Working on behalf of Worcestershire County Council to clear the larger trunk roads before moving into the smaller lanes to ease up more local traffic. In total we had 3 team members (Tim, Derek and Gordon) out for 2.5 days clearing snow around Bredon Hill. I think we have been very lucky, lambing is not due to start for another month and my heart goes out to those spending hours rescuing stranded livestock.
If there are a few messages that these events can draw out, they would be that community spirit is not dead, much help was available to clear driveways, collect shopping and shovel snow from valley gutters.
Farmers have an active role to play, not just to produce food and look after the natural resources but also to keep the roads open to allow others to go about their daily lives. Next time you get stuck behind a slow moving tractor and trailer of hay, or a combine harvester moving around the lanes, just pause for a moment and think they are doing their jobs just as you were able to get through the snow to do yours.
3 days later we are all back to normal, with only a few farm tracks impassable to vehicles smaller than a tractor and the sun is shining. Spring feels like it is just around the corner. We will have to wait and see!