August is here. It is now show time. The time of year when you catch up with all the people you have not seen since last year and share a couple of beers. The weather (we always seem to get back to that!) is not good if you are trying to make a bit of good hay.

It was good ‘hay weather’ a few weeks ago when the grass was not ready. Most of the grass intended for hay has now been big baled and wrapped in plastic. A couple of small fields remain so we live in hope!

It has not been a good year for the pick your own fruit. It was too dry in April for the strawberries to grow, resulting in very little fruit. However it must have suited the raspberries and bush fruit because they have done well.

But at the moment rain is seriously affecting picking them. We have been spayning (separating them from their mothers) the early lambs to give the sheep a short holiday before the whole process starts again by turning the tups out.

The later lambs will be spayned soon for the same reason.

The ‘harvest’ for hill farmers starts now when they sell their breeding lambs. The auction marts will be full of their crop and much needed cash in the bank. Farmers from all parts of the country come to buy their breeding stock to produce lamb for the table next year.

Since I last wrote we have a new Minister for agriculture in Michael Gove. When asked about policy for farming we did not get much of an answer. He talks a lot about the environment and how the countryside should look but very little about how to feed 65 million people!

Surely that should come top of the agenda. He was not a popular minister of Education so I hope he does better. I always live in hope of having a minister who actually knows and understands something about farming and the countryside.

But to quote an old saying ‘if you are down to hope you have not got much’.

Gordon Capstick