Interesting times

23 11 2012

“How many sowings of my order have you done?” the customer asked over the phone.

“Just the one so far” I replied.

“Don’t do any more. I have been invaded” he said, “I will come and get the other tins of seed at another time”.

This was not the first time that this had happened but he’d always managed to get rid of the land-grabbers. I wondered what had changed that he was not expecting to stay. It was quite a blow to my income as he is easily my biggest customer and there is never a problem getting the money. Driving past the farm later yesterday I noticed that everything was quiet and the main gate locked. I knew he’d been planting a sizable potato crop and hadn’t finished. In the past we’d both wondered how long he could carry on farming as it is certainly a juicy target – nice house, 3 centre pivot irrigation systems, good water and close to town. I’d been a bit critical of his lack of crop rotation, essential on a heavily utilised farm such as this one, and he’d replied that he had no idea how long he would be on the farm so he was farming it as hard as he could. I thought this a little short-sighted at the time but maybe I was wrong. Today a few tractors could be seen at work but there was no saying for whom they were working.

The rains are very late this year. They should have started 10 days ago but so far there have been a few sporadic showers. There are a few showers forecast for early next week but nothing significant. This is supposedly a  mild el Niño year with minimal disruption to the normal rain pattern. Mind you, the last 2 years have been la Nina years which should have given us good rains and they were anything but. It is really not looking good. Short season maize (the staple food is maize) will need to be planted which does not yield as well as the longer season type and supplementary irrigation will almost certainly be needed. Droughts are endemic in this part of the world and at one time we were well equipped with good farmers who could cope with them. No longer. Most have been kicked off their farms and in many cases the farms are now derelict. Next year is also a general election year and in the past the incumbent party has used promises of food in drought years to “persuade” voters to vote for them. Looks like it’s going to be the same situation and a lot more interesting than most people want.

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2 responses

25 11 2012
Tuppit

There’s plenty of rain in the UK if you are short, some would say too much, extensive flooding in many parts!

26 11 2012
Big Blister

Yes it’s supposedly La Nada this year and here it should be “normal” precipititation. Hope the same for you also!

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