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"We all learnt a great deal about Farming - it helped the children to understand the idea of Farming more. A real hands on experience!"

By Reading School Year 4 teacher



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24 May 2022

    Bluebells at Rushall Farm I first met...


February 2018

February 2018

9 Feb 2018

Bob always cleared the tail corn from the cleaner for us during harvest to feed his chicken. The reward was a home reared turkey delivered just before Christmas.  One year he arrived slightly forlorn with news that he hadn’t had time to do the necessary.  It was no problem and Sainsburys was still open. He came again in January and as we chatted he assured me that the turkey was still on his to do list. Right in the middle of lambing he was a welcome visitor and a chance to sit have a cup of tea and some sensible chat with no reference to sheep. In the course of our conversation he declared “your turkey has started laying eggs”. Maybe that is what spurred us on to buy six female turkey poults at the end of July.  They grew fast and well, one of them winning best young female at the Newbury Show.  As the weeks have progressed, three, including the one mentioned, are very obviously male and spend most of their time responding in panic to anything untoward.  It is quite spectacular, their wings go out just grazing the ground, body feathers become puffed out with tail ones all erect.  Their faces redden with a blue tinge, the snood elongates beyond all expectation and there is lots of gobble, gobble more or less in unison.  Meanwhile the females continue to busy themselves feeding and will start laying eggs, incubating them and rearing their chicks. At the Oxford Farming Conference a gathering of farmers heard from Michael Gove that they will be receiving the same level of subsidy for 5 years after Brexit.   Currently they receive half of their total income from these payments and 2/3rds of the £3 billion received annually is paid per acre.  The government intentions were to radically change the EU payment system.  They wanted to move away from subsidy for “apparent inefficiency” to public money for public goods. I am not sure why producing food in humane and healthy ways isn’t for the public good? However, future emphasis is to be planting woodland, providing new habitats, increasing biodiversity, contributing to water quality and turning cultivated land to wildflower meadows.  Best plant the garden this year.  It might all be gobble, gobble!

John Bishop