Agriculture

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jimlews
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Re: Agriculture

Postby jimlews » 23 Jun 2020, 11:01pm

Simon, Mick.

Yes I do mean never, though I admit that conclusive evidence might be a bit problematic, prior to say, the late bronze age (circa 700-800 bce). But I think it can be inferred, simply because there is evidence of trade with the continent even back to the Neolithic.
It is said that the Napoleonic wars were the time when these islands came closest to self sufficiency, but smuggling took place even then and that is trade, though not officially sanctioned. It is telling that despite the innovations of the agricultural revolution, there were episodes of famine well into the nineteenth century.

mikeymo
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Re: Agriculture

Postby mikeymo » 23 Jun 2020, 11:03pm

Cyril Haearn wrote:
mikeymo wrote:
Cyril Haearn wrote:In the Hebrides there was weaving too, the crofters could add value locally, +1


There still is weaving in the Hebrides.

I haven't a clue what "could add value locally" means. "The crofters" were making a living any way they could.

Economics, they could sell wool for x, they could get more for it as jackets
Or even more by retailing the goods in their own shop, Harris Tweed is a premium brand


I think if any Harris Tweed products are sold directly on the islands, it's usually tailored away from islands, and then brought back. I don't know if that applies to any of the bags and such that are sold in the various shops aimed mainly at tourists. I've got a Harris tweed scarf I bought on South Uist. It's itchy as hell.

The market for any Harris Tweed products sold on the Outer Hebrides is going to be pretty small. The entire island chain has a population of 26,000 (and falling), and most of them are on Lewis. I mean, imagine setting up a shop in a town with the population of Stalybridge. But 150 miles from end to end.

There's a shop on Benbecula that has Harris Tweed jackets in, though they didn't seem to be flying out the door, to be honest. And they didn't have my size in.
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Paulatic
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Re: Agriculture

Postby Paulatic » 23 Jun 2020, 11:26pm

Ben@Forest wrote:[production. According to the link below about half our wool is exported to China.

https://makeitbritish.co.uk/fabric-and- ... tish-wool/


I liked the bragging in the article of raising the price by 300% since 2007 to £1.50/kg

It was £1 / kilo back in the nineties when it was 50p to shear.
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mikeymo
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Re: Agriculture

Postby mikeymo » 23 Jun 2020, 11:33pm

Paulatic wrote:
Ben@Forest wrote:[production. According to the link below about half our wool is exported to China.

https://makeitbritish.co.uk/fabric-and- ... tish-wool/


I liked the bragging in the article of raising the price by 300% since 2007 to £1.50/kg

It was £1 / kilo back in the nineties when it was 50p to shear.


I went with dad back to Scotland a couple of times when he went to help old friends with the gather. That will have been in the 70s. Certainly he, and I assume the others, were using hand shears, which looked deadly, to be honest. Oh, they still sell them:

https://www.burgonandball.com/collections/british-and-european-patterns

I don't know how much a fleece weighs, but I was wrapping them (hands thick with lanolin) and it won't have been much more than a couple of pounds. At £1 a kilo there can't have been any money it.
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pete75
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Re: Agriculture

Postby pete75 » 23 Jun 2020, 11:44pm

Paulatic wrote:Supply and demand
The UK production can’t supply what’s required all year around. NZ and Oz can produce it cheaper than us and being on the other side of the world slits in nicely.
Without an EU subsidy the UK will have to
1 pay a subsidy
or Lamb will need to be dearer than it now is
or We can import cheaper meat from elsewhere.
One guess as to how a Tory thinks. They can afford to buy good produce but the rest of the plebs can eat inferior imported food.

Is New Zealand lamb inferior? Doesn't it have to meet UK standards to be sold here? After Brexit it'll still be sold here at the same price. If UK producers can't compete with stuff shipped from NZ without a subsidy perhaps they shouldn't be in business. TBH I don't know why many farmers bother with sheep other than they like having a bit of stock and it's traditional. Only about 6-8 sheep an acre, sometimes less. Much more dosh in furloughing it up for wheat or beet.

Ben@Forest
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Re: Agriculture

Postby Ben@Forest » 24 Jun 2020, 6:17am

pete75 wrote:TBH I don't know why many farmers bother with sheep other than they like having a bit of stock and it's traditional. Only about 6-8 sheep an acre, sometimes less. Much more dosh in furloughing it up for wheat or beet.


Because for hill farmers ploughing it up for wheat or beet won't succeed, it's only good for grazing (all hill farming is marginal at best).

Secondly they wouldn't be allowed to plough it up, huge swathes of our upland are designated for wading/breeding birds, raptors and plant communities that can stand low intensity grazing (though often cattle are better). It's also a landscape choice, people expect to see the Dales or Lakes as a pastoral landscape, it'll be in the National Parks' plans.

Thirdly at least some of the upland (I haven't got a figure but off the top of my head but let's say 30%) will be peat which if you plough you'll be releasing carbon into the atmosphere. It's one of the reasons afforestation of the uplands for carbon sequestration is difficult, much of it is already holding carbon through peat accumulation.

Oldjohnw
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Re: Agriculture

Postby Oldjohnw » 24 Jun 2020, 7:06am

pete75 wrote: TBH I don't know why many farmers bother with sheep other than they like having a bit of stock and it's traditional. Only about 6-8 sheep an acre, sometimes less. Much more dosh in furloughing it up for wheat or beet.


It would be interesting to see someone trying to grow wheat in the Cheviots.
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philg
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Re: Agriculture

Postby philg » 24 Jun 2020, 7:50am

Oldjohnw wrote:
pete75 wrote: TBH I don't know why many farmers bother with sheep other than they like having a bit of stock and it's traditional. Only about 6-8 sheep an acre, sometimes less. Much more dosh in furloughing it up for wheat or beet.


It would be interesting to see someone trying to grow wheat in the Cheviots.

Or on Exmoor - someone spent a fortune 200 years ago trying and failed.

There may be only 15,000 or so ewes (which still outnumbers the human population, though not in the NZ ratio!) but wool has been traded here since medieval times and the Exmoor Horn wool is still in demand.

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Paulatic
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Re: Agriculture

Postby Paulatic » 24 Jun 2020, 8:31am

mikeymo wrote:
Paulatic wrote:
Ben@Forest wrote:[production. According to the link below about half our wool is exported to China.

https://makeitbritish.co.uk/fabric-and- ... tish-wool/


I liked the bragging in the article of raising the price by 300% since 2007 to £1.50/kg

It was £1 / kilo back in the nineties when it was 50p to shear.


I went with dad back to Scotland a couple of times when he went to help old friends with the gather. That will have been in the 70s. Certainly he, and I assume the others, were using hand shears, which looked deadly, to be honest. Oh, they still sell them:

https://www.burgonandball.com/collections/british-and-european-patterns

I don't know how much a fleece weighs, but I was wrapping them (hands thick with lanolin) and it won't have been much more than a couple of pounds. At £1 a kilo there can't have been any money it.


Hand shears are still used for that odd ewe late on which missed the clipping gather. A good hand clipper was as fast as the early machines which were gruesome side fed drives.
Back in the 70s wool was good money and around 15% of the total income. It was always said it paid the rent.
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Paulatic
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Re: Agriculture

Postby Paulatic » 24 Jun 2020, 8:56am

pete75 wrote:
Paulatic wrote:Supply and demand
The UK production can’t supply what’s required all year around. NZ and Oz can produce it cheaper than us and being on the other side of the world slits in nicely.
Without an EU subsidy the UK will have to
1 pay a subsidy
or Lamb will need to be dearer than it now is
or We can import cheaper meat from elsewhere.
One guess as to how a Tory thinks. They can afford to buy good produce but the rest of the plebs can eat inferior imported food.

Is New Zealand lamb inferior? Doesn't it have to meet UK standards to be sold here? After Brexit it'll still be sold here at the same price. If UK producers can't compete with stuff shipped from NZ without a subsidy perhaps they shouldn't be in business. TBH I don't know why many farmers bother with sheep other than they like having a bit of stock and it's traditional. Only about 6-8 sheep an acre, sometimes less. Much more dosh in furloughing it up for wheat or beet.


Have you bought it and ate it what do you think?
I think I might have had some back in the 70 or 80 and my memory of I as small boney cuts. Yes it will meet EU standards as part of the trade deal with the EU. Having known many NZ shearers who come here and also I know farmers who’ve gone out there then I believe their farm welfare standards are also comparable to ours. Not the impression when I’ve met Oz shearers.
Perhaps after Brexit UK farmers shouldn’t be In business but your last two sentences suggest you need to get out of Lincolnshire a bit more. :)
You might get 6-8 sheep an acre in Lincolnshire but where I worked it was 4 acres per sheep. The Lincolnshire Longwool sheep lost popularity because of a) it’s unwanted fleece and b) it was difficult to keep alive outwith the county. ( I could say any fool of a sheep could live In Lincolnshire :lol: ) Of it’s three cousins, I can think of, Teeswater, Wensleydale, Bluefaced Leicester The first two have made a little comeback from extinction and the number one crossing sheep to get a commercial ewe is the BFLeicester. Also known as a Hexham Leicester native to somewhere a little harder.
Growing wheat or beet isn’t an option. Trees are often the only option and the ones I’m looking at right now were planted for tax dodging reasons and some often not a lot of use to man nor beast Great for off road riding though :)
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mikeymo
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Re: Agriculture

Postby mikeymo » 24 Jun 2020, 11:20am

Paulatic wrote:Hand shears are still used for that odd ewe late on which missed the clipping gather. A good hand clipper was as fast as the early machines which were gruesome side fed drives.
Back in the 70s wool was good money and around 15% of the total income. It was always said it paid the rent.


Interesting. So it was worth doing back then. I must have been in my early teens the times I went up with dad. I think the main purpose of the trip, for Dad, was social. I don't suppose anybody paid him for clipping. Well, maybe in Scotch! By that time he was an agricultural lecturer so not "on the tools" any more.
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mikeymo
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Re: Agriculture

Postby mikeymo » 24 Jun 2020, 11:22am

Paulatic wrote:You might get 6-8 sheep an acre in Lincolnshire but where I worked it was 4 acres per sheep.


Mum's phrase was "3 acres to a cow, 3 sheep to an acre". Which sounds about right in the Highlands then?

I keep repeating this to my wife when trying to persuade her that we should buy some land in the Outer Hebrides and move out there. It's not working.
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Ben@Forest
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Re: Agriculture

Postby Ben@Forest » 24 Jun 2020, 12:08pm

mikeymo wrote:
Paulatic wrote:You might get 6-8 sheep an acre in Lincolnshire but where I worked it was 4 acres per sheep.


Mum's phrase was "3 acres to a cow, 3 sheep to an acre". Which sounds about right in the Highlands then?


Paulatic wrote 4 acres per sheep not vice versa. I'm working for a client who farms with what works out as a ewe an acre (plus a very small number of cattle) but having cattle allows for better grazing in the round.

In the Highlands, if on moorland, 3 ewes an acre sounds unlikely. There are of course so many variables it's difficult to have any definitive answer.

mikeymo
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Re: Agriculture

Postby mikeymo » 24 Jun 2020, 12:23pm

Ben@Forest wrote:
mikeymo wrote:
Paulatic wrote:Paulatic wrote 4 acres per sheep not vice versa.


Oh yes, I misread. I expect whatever mum said was correct, she did have a diploma in animal husbandry and farmed in Scotland. So I guess I'm mis-remembering what she said.
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Ben@Forest
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Re: Agriculture

Postby Ben@Forest » 24 Jun 2020, 12:34pm

mikeymo wrote:
Ben@Forest wrote:
mikeymo wrote:


Oh yes, I misread. I expect whatever mum said was correct, she did have a diploma in animal husbandry and farmed in Scotland. So I guess I'm mis-remembering what she said.


3 an acre is entirely feasible in the southern half of lowland England. But not in the northern uplands, but even then with extra feed or wintering indoors or something someone probably has an example of it!