Time for Harvesting

In the northern hemisphere at temperate latitudes it is the time of the year when harvests are brought in. The small proportion of people who work the land to produce the food for the vast majority of us, will reap what they have sown. Some harvests will be successful and others will fail. Some crops have and an exceptionally good year while others an exceptionally bad year. Farming has always had an element of unpredictability, but in the past decades the unpredictability has become greater, so that it is difficult for those who choose to feed the majority of us to know what to farm and when to farm it. For all our study and science, for all our knowledge and machinery, the business of farming is as risky as it ever was, because of the rapid changes in climate and weather and the unusual weather patterns which afflict much of the planet.

In England we will have plenty of blackberries but not so much wheat as black grass has afflicted much of the wheat crop in Lincolnshire. Most fruit and Chilli will be plentiful, but staples will be poor. We cannot improve the weather and the climate; we can only make it more unpredictable and more extreme. A harvest festival in twenty years time may well display different produce from that shown twenty years ago.

The summer of 2013 was the ninth warmest summer in the UK since records began in 191, the seventh sunniest summer since records began in 1929 and the July heatwave was the longest for five years, with summer rainfall being just over half that of the average of the past five years. If your business is ice cream, or soft fruits you will have had a very good year. If your business is other foods then you will be scratching your head, wondering what you should plant or grow for next year’s harvest.


One Response

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