Sunday, 11 September 2016

More hot weather

After another hot, sunny and bone dry week, last week, there was much hope and expectation shown on Friday when the weather forecast predicted a spell of rain, often heavy, moving from west to east across the south of the country on Saturday. I drove to my partner's house in Surrey yesterday morning (Sat), 80 miles by road by not that far in a straight line. There it rained, not always heavily, from late morning to early evening and bearing in mind that this was going east towards Sheppey on the Kent coast where I live, I was quite jubilant, until I rang a friend there in the evening and found out that once again, Sheppey had remained very cloudy, but dry. So we enter our third month of bone dry weather and this week's weather is once again predicted to be hot and sunny and possibly breaking September records for temperatures. Being made of a clay soil, some of the flower borders and lawns in my garden now have cracks opened up in them that you can put your hand down and watering them is just an expensive waste of time.
The farmers on Sheppey are split into two schools of thought. The livestock ones are becoming quite concerned at not only the extreme lack of grass but the quality of the water in the fleets and ditches that the cattle and sheep normally drink from, it's quite stagnant and rank. The arable farmers have had an excellent harvest and after cultivations in the sunny and bone dry conditions and everything that needs to be done has been done and all next year's crops in the ground as seed. The slight  nagging worry there is that we might get a few days of rain and then it turns hot and dry again, in the past this has seen the seed germinate and then the seedlings wilt and die, bringing the need to completely re-sow whole fields again at some expense.
Going back to the livestock, the cattle on the reserve were driven into the pens one day this week and the three bulls, in the hope that all the cows were now pregnant, were separated and taken away until next year again. At the same time, all the cattle were given a dosage of copper, a mineral that Sheppey's grazing marshes are deficient in and one that is vital for the good health of the cattle. Next month all the calves will be taken away from their mothers for weaning.
So, here we go again for another hot and dry week in North Kent.


  1. Up here we have had little or no rain Derek - in fact the drop we had was quickly burnt off and today promises to be warm and sunny. We are going across to Cumbria to meet friends for lunch, so we are personally pleased, but - as you say - livestock farmers worry that the grass is not growing. Silageing has been successful but nobody wans to have to start using it too early - it has the whole winter to last.

  2. Derek, in my early youth (50 years ago now), it seemed to me that our weather changed every few days, never prolonged hot, never continual wet. But now our weather gets stuck...

  3. Just as it did in 1976 Steve, you must remember that one, what a drought that was.

    1. Yes I do, and if memory serves me right it then rained all September!

  4. Derek. Farming friends were down in your part of the world at the weeken and were horrified by the fact that there was hardly a blade of green grass to be seen and all the water courses were almost dried up. There must be a risk of fire - would this affect the reserve?

  5. Thanks for the correction Derek - I did mean Greater Spotted - don't know what made me put 'lesser' - I have seen one once so I do know the difference.