Horse meat: Not just industry to blame

As only 25mm of rain has fallen at Poolham during February, the groundwater level is at last starting to drop and the flow from my land drains is slowing to a trickle once again.

As the surface of the soil has now dried I have taken the opportunity to apply some early Nitrogen and Sulphur to my Oilseed Rape crops.

The temperature of the soil is currently only about three degrees centigrade, which is still too cold to 
allow crop growth, but as I have such a long list of jobs to do when the weather warms up common sense dictates I should go ahead.

If conditions allow me, and the soil remains dry enough to travel, my winter wheat will also receive its first application of Nitrogen in the next few days. All of my crops at Poolham have suffered due to the wet Autumn and Winter, the rooting of the plants is very shallow and many of my Oilseed Rape plants are blue in colour caused by growing in saturated soils.

Only time will tell how they will perform, but reluctantly I am only expecting a moderate crop at harvest.

Calving at the Little Hale Farm is now almost finished and hopefully every cow will be suckling a calf at Turnout in early April.

My brother has had to assist more cows at calving this year than ever before as currently there have been four sets of twins from 38 cows.

We have had to treat a few calves for possible pneumonia this Spring.

It is vital that the drugs are given when symptoms are first seen or the calves can be severelyaffected.

The fat cattle are still growing well and the local butcher we supply seems pleased with their finish in the Cold room.

We are currently only selling heifers as they finish quicker than the steers and I anticipate the steers should start to be moved in about two weeks time.

As most of these animals are sold deadweight to Waitrose, their fieldsman will visitthe farm to assess the stock prior to sale.

On the subject of horsemeat being found in food sold as beef in the food industry, I not only feel that the problem was ~one of the food industry’s own making, but I cannot help but feel that pressure on suppliers to provide cheaper meals to the supermarkets combined with inadequate traceability of frozen meat throughout the EEC has caused the problem.

One of my daughters works in the food industry for a high quality supplier to the major supermarkets. None of their meals has 
been found to contain Horsemeat, but the impact on their business has been massive as sales have plummeted.

The outcome of this is the possibility of redundancy for several of the workforce of sales and confidence are not quickly restored.

It is wrong that the entire food industry is tarred with the same brush.