MAY 2015

Unite and unite and let us all unite
For summer is cumin today
And whither we are going we all will unite
In the merry morning of May

So goes the Padstow May song which starts at dawn on ‘Obby Oss Day’ (May 1st) and continues until sunset when the twin ‘obby orses’ fight and die for another year.  Why is it that Cornwall has produced the two best May songs in the country?  The other one from Helston is sung every bit as enthusiastically but a week later. If you have never visited Padstow on May Day it is worth doing once – a wonderful local tradition for local people but with visitors welcomed and well catered for – but probably not for those that don’t like crowds or accordion bands.  Padstow has a resident population of 3000 of which 150 are accordionists.  The highest number per capita in in the country – not many people know this!!

All this nonsense is meant to lead into a report on the glories of early May in the Suffolk countryside.  Most of the trees and hedges are in full leaf now with the oak leading the ash again.  All crops are looking good on the farm but soil conditions are a bit on the dry side for perfection.  We seem to be encouraged by the odd days of brilliant sunshine followed by dull cool periods and a few warm nights would certainly cheer both plants and animals, me included.

All fertiliser is now on and the spreader can be washed and put away until the autumn again.  The sprayer is in use for most weeks for something or other and has recently had its MOT test.  Over the years, the use of chemicals on the farm has become more tightly regulated and this year marks the end of the grandfather rights for sprayer operators.  When new legislation is brought in, such as the requirement for Sprayer Operators to be trained in the use of chemicals and machines, a period will be allowed for operators who have been using the equipment for years untrained, to get their qualifications.  That period has now elapsed and, from this year, everyone using farm chemicals and sprayers has to pass a competence test.  The sprayer also has to be annually inspected.   In our case we use the manufacturers staff for this job and have found the process very useful when faults have been identified early.  This year our tester spotted a hydraulic wheel motor just beginning to leak oil.  Having a service exchange unit fitted now rather than waiting for the eventual breakdown and tinkle of a multitude of sharp bits of bearing, will save us a lot of money.

DAVID TYDEMAN