Those of us in the farming game are well aware that they have to be prepared for whatever the weather and climate throw our way.
After such a promising start, we have been well and truly pulled back to earth. We have been reminded that to be a farmer requires grit—an old-fashioned word, perhaps—but one that seems to be fitting in these circumstances.
I define grit as a combination of courage, conscientiousness, resilience and passion.
The combination of the weather conditions, the resultant disease pressure, the anxiety about ‘getting the crop off’ (or, in some cases, what remains of it) and dealing with the unprecedented conditions provides a complex mix of circumstances.
Hence the need for grit. To be honest, it is hard to farm without it.
After recent conversations with farmers, I have no doubt that they possess those four essential characteristics.
Across the region there is evidence of an increased level of conscientiousness about gaining information and facts to inform actions. Farmers are collecting images gathered by drones supported by numerous crop walks, not drives—although BCG is running an event about getting out of bogs safely—and meeting with agronomists to accurately assess crop status and yield potential. Increased time is being spent thinking about the logistics of harvest and how various aspects could be approached differently to manage what will be a complex procedure. Machines are being serviced, silos organised, plans made. Those with stock are feverishly trying to ensure shearing/crutching is undertaken to keep flystrike to a minimum. These are just a few examples.
There is nothing to be done about the weather. We can only wait and see what happens and then respond and keep going.
Reading the recently published, BCG The First Thirty Years gives ample evidence of perseverance, combined with those two other essential ingredients: resilience and passion.
As we look back, we can take heart knowing that this community, these farmers, have done it before and can do it again.
BCG will continue to support farmers and the community through research and varied activities. As this article is being written, over 250 farmers have registered to participate in our How to get out of a Bog Safely event. If we can keep our sense of humour, that is something we may find just a little amusing, or at least ironic.
Most of us have had good seasons over the last few years; as we look toward next year, we can take comfort in that and in the moisture levels already in the ground.
We can also remind ourselves that, unlike the farmers in the Ukraine, we can go about our business in safety and security.