June on the farm (2024)

Maize planted in the fields to the south of the Parish Boundary.
Photo: Colin Wootton

Richard Fonge writes:

We are four days away from the longest day and it feels more like winter at times. However we have had this type of June weather before and will do in the future. If you make your living from the land as I did you have to work and accept the weather you’re given by nature. Just as you accept that life and death go with keeping livestock.

The late sown barley up the concrete road looks well but I suspect it will run to seed well before it should with a very reduced yield as a consequence.

An exceptional crop of wheat sown last October after maize is up at Stuchbury in a field called Sulgrave ground at the exit from the footpath from Wemyss farm. This field I know from experience being of really good fertile soil always out yielding others on the farm. The field growing maize next to it which leads down to the farm house was called the “Milkers field”, but I found out recently it is now called Fonge’s after my family who lived and farmed there as tenants of Balliol College Oxford from 1947 to 1975. Oxford and Cambridge colleges were large land owners and still are but less so now with assets moved into other investments.

At the magpie junction is a field of maize which runs along towards the new road, this crop will be harvested for animal feed, whereas the Stuchbury fields and those planted on the way to Banbury will be used to go into an anaerobic digester for energy production. This is the changing use of land from food production to energy, with also the growing number of solar farms. A sensible balance must be struck between the demands of green energy, nature conservation and food production.

Recently you may have been aware of large tractor and trailers coming through the village for several hours. They were carting fresh cut grass to be made into silage by heaping it into and tightly rolling it down in a clamp were it is sealed and then used as a winter feed for cattle.

We have just witnessed some very articulate D.Day veterans with their memories , and it reminded me of a gentleman I knew who died in 1993 at the age of 101, who could remember his elderly grandmother who was born in 1807 telling him a story from a soldier relative who had fought at Waterloo in 1815.

Richard Fonge


Leave a Reply