In our Parishes in the past, when wheat yields were calculated in coombs an acre and pig farmers had pigs weighing so many score, and no one had even heard of kilograms, the art and mystery of cattle breeding flourished. Nationally known Shorthorn dairy cattle began their lives within our boundaries. Their names live on in the treasured records of the Herd Society journals. It is good to know therefore that the dedication to this age old pursuit of striving for excellence flourishes amongst us today. It is true the roan or red and white Shorthorn dairy cow of yesteryear has been replaced by a creamy coloured breed originating in France called a Charolais. That apart, the hopes and aspirations to turn out a prize winner at our County Show would be the same then as now. The whole farm gets involved. Nobody is spared. Many hours of coaxing, pushing and pulling the creature will, on the day it is hoped, produce a well mannered heifer who will win her richly deserved rosettes and make all the owners’ dreams come true. I hope so.
Whilst the reservoirs undoubtedly are still far from replenished, I suspect the rainfall in the last few weeks has come just right for farm and garden. Generally speaking crops look well. I would call it a kindly year so far. The apple blossom has never looked better. In our villages we have some expert gardeners. Neatly labelled and carefully hoed rows of early summer vegetables are coming close to being harvested. On the farms the oil seed rape plants will be setting their pods. Folk who sneeze their way through May will be glad of that. Winter barley is about six weeks away from being harvested. A pure white cock pheasant has recently put in an appearance. Its rarity will make it quite safe from the Autumn guns.