The Year Round: Freezing weather brings on some headaches

Low Fields Farm is on the level below the River Ouse.

We know other places on the Year Round have things much harder but here on this arable holding we still have 42 acres of sugar beet to lift.

Farm work was reasonably up-to- date when December started and we planned to lift the rest of the beet but have had no opportunities since then.

I have never known it so cold so early.

The kerosene for heating the poultry houses was ordered well in advance, but the tanker did well to get through to us.

The temperature was down to 13 degrees.

One brother has to set off each morning to pick up one of two poultry men who start at 7.30am.

The 12,000 birds are now six months old and have laid remarkably well although they are not allowed on to the surrounding fields.

It has been a full time job keeping their water supply unfrozen.

Another brother in Lincolnshire has had no milk picked up from his large dairy herd for a week.

Eggs here are collected every other day.

A load of potatoes was taken from a refrigerated store which registered four degrees centigrade but the outside was freezing.

One point in our favour is that the potato buyers have accepted every load that we have sent although in normal times they find fault with a proportion of them regularly and reduce our price accordingly.

It is a poor time for the wildlife.

Usually birds and mammals drink from the small pools formed where two of our dykes meet but this year all is frozen solid.

With two other farmers we keep our local lanes clear until we reach a main road but this is always at our own expense although one farmer does receive some remuneration from the council.

CW 11/12/10