November on the farm (2023)

Hedge laying along the Banbury Road

Richard Fonge writes:

A very wet month with the ground extremely sodden for this time of year, but looking back we no longer have the dense fogs of the past due to our much improved cleaner air. We sometimes forget how far we have come in certain ways. This wet autumn (and our area has escaped the worst of the really heavy rain) has had a serious impact on some of the newly sown crops. Seed has rotted before germination and slugs have thrived in ideal conditions. These small type of slugs are voracious in appetite in that they are like a pair of scissors eating away at the small shoots. If a crop has failed now you have to wait to the spring before you can re plant.

Please take note of the high standard of hedge trimming, particularly on the left of the Magpie Road and on the right side of the Helmdon Road as you leave the village and further along towards Peter’s Bridge. These are well maintained hedges with plenty of depth and thickness. I mentioned this last year but the benefit of cutting a poor hedge to the ground and then letting it re grow can be seen along the Banbury Road to Weston.

November in the farming world is the month of dinners and AGMs of different agricultural organisations. There are many farming clubs and societies, some going back a long way, but many formed during the Second World War years to encourage farmers to grow better crops and hold competitions against similar clubs. The secretary was always a local Ministry advisor, who arranged talks and competitions. Today many of these organisations still exist, but the man from the ministry has long gone. In our neck of the woods we have The North Banbury Farming Club and Banbury Agricultural Society and I am still involved with the Kenilworth Agricultural Society. Each year a reciprocal arrangement is made with another club to judge their different classes of livestock and crops, with cups and certificates presented at annual dinners. It is always interesting and informative to visit and judge others and be judged yourselves. Plus, the social side is important.

Agriculture is an industry where ideas and developments are swapped between farmers, and as my old employer used to say “you always learn something “ on such occasions. Very true.

Richard Fonge


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