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Stories and Articles Page Two
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From The Guardian
Here's our story of RYE GRASS. Ian is aways bemoaning our UK Rye grass deserts
Ian and I were having an arguement about the beauty of the hedgerows in Devon and Pembrokeshire .My stand was the Devon ones were more beautiful with a much richer variey of wild flowers. I put forward the fact Devon is a bit further south and would it make a difference. Out of this discussion came the fact that were were discussing two different times
....My childhood in Devon in the 1940s and Pembrokeshire in 2007. In the 1970s we had lived near Aberystwyth .
Ian was the branch sec of the trade union representing workers from the Plant Breeding station. At Aberystwyth the Plant Breeding Station was developing these Rye Grass varieties. These varieties were very vigorous. Later it was found that they succeed by producing chemicals from the roots which poisoned competitors and chemicals in the foliage
which inhibited or killed competing organisms.
This has not been acknowledged widely.
The staff who developed these strains expressed concern that they were turning Wales into a rye grass desert. We can now see the results, upland Wales is a true rye grass desert, one species overpowering the native vegetation.
There is a problem with fertility in dairy cattle due to the inhibitory content of the rye grass in most leys.
The digestive problems needing expensive dietary additives to maintain milk production, the increased use of AI and hormone injections to put the cow in calf to maintain lactation.
One of the factors behind the short life of dairy cattle is the dietary deficiencies caused by the selective inhibitory effect on absorption in the gut of the cow.
Twenty years later what we see in the hedgerows is the escape and spread of these invasive rye grasses taking over the verges. Luscious green growth by rye grass smothering native grasses and plants, by out competing them.
This has taken twenty years to show, involves the unforseen results of growing rye grass seedlings in plots with an open radioactive source gathering the seeds trialling them picking any with more vigour trialing these and selectively breeding them.
Mass sowing, then selling as improved seed varieties only later after years of sales carrying out research on the effects on gut flora and soil. Thatcher privatised the Plant Breeding Stations, the EEC have their Approved list of all seed varieties which can be sold.
All the government seed banks are now in private hands,decisions which are made about which varieties to be available for sale are commercial decisions.
If you know that one variety increases yields of dry matter in grass crops but is flawed you sell as miuch as you can of that variety as you can and plead ignorance when you are found out, you can do this for years as there are few if any independent scientists working in these
fields they all depend on finance from the industry.
So once again we have the disastrous effects of private capital whose only criteria are commercial profit.
NOW can you see the pitfalls of GM crops in the hands of multinationals such as Monsanto. Thalia and Ian ©
"In secret UK farmers are growing GM crops NOW! Well rewarded by
Coroporations and Government?"
IAN'S MEMORIES ©
Our family summer holidays were always spent at Freshwater East, first of all in the bungalow under Trewent Point, we were there when the minefields were still in place. Then we had a bell tent in one of Winfreds Fields then we had a caravan first in the slacks behind Browns Bungalow. Several years later we dug out a flat area in the field on the Trewent side to park our caravan we were alone to begin with but were joined by other people who came back year after year. We set out from Coventry as soon as school closed and went back for the new term in the autumn. With the weather as it was then it gave us late hay making singling root crops then corn harvest first the oats then the barley and the wheat. We cut the hay with a mower turned it with a tedder, dragged into rows with a rake and by hand built the rows into mows. These were left to dry, we went out onto the lanes and loaded the hedge trimmings left in neat piles by the lengthsman to use as grunnings, a thick layer to raise the hay from the soil. The mows were loaded by pick (pitchfork) and then by a pole and hoist with a grab raised into the hay loft, when that was full we built hayricks and thatched them with straw. The corn was cut by reaper and binder into sheaves built into stooks and allowed to dry. Barley was the worst as the awns stuck in your skin and you could not take your shirt off. Depending on the weather the sheaves were built into much bigger stooks to dry out. Each day we went to the fields to rebuild the stooks which had fallen or been blown down. If they were left on the ground the ears began to sprout. Each day we also felt them to see if they were ready to be carted, too soon and the rick would overheat and be ruined, too dry and the ears fell out when the sheaves were handled. When we travelled we always looked over the hedges to see how neighbours fields looked compared to ours the stooks were supposed to be very regular the lines curved to fit the shape of the field the whole made by the regularity of the sheaves as the lines finished in the middle of the field, and then how long fallen stooks were left before they were rebuilt, if too many had been blown down we offered to help rebuild them before they were ruined.
It was a skilled job building a rick as the only thing which stopped it falling down was the way the sheaves were laid. Sheaves are thicker at the butt than the head end so the rick was laid out by eye. A line of sheaves butt out with the corners interleaved, the head to butt sheaves were laid parallel to each other. The walls had to be kept one course higher than the middle if you did not and stood on the edge the whole side slipped away, the placing was competitive to see who could build the squarest neatest rick with slightly overhanding sides and ends. At the end of each day the rick was covered by a canvas sheet, when it reached its final height, the height to which we could throw sheaves by pick from the trailer bed. All the equipment we used was converted from horse drawn machinery. When it had settled it was thatched, but usually a few weeks later it was threshed.
The thresher machine was owned by a contractor and went from farm to farm. Every neighbouring farmer and his labourers arrived with the threshing machine helped to set it up worked until late at night and came back next day until it was finished. The rick had to be uncovered the sheaves thrown to the feeder who cut the binder twine holding the sheaf together and fed it into the top of the thresher. His was the most skilled job feeding regularly and evenly if not fast enough the machine overspeeded too fast and it got choked. The dust flew everywhere the awns got eveywhere and the straw had to be rebuilt into a straw stack for winter bedding, the grain poured out into two hundred weight sacks of corn which were stacked in the corn store, some to be sold some to use as winter feed additive for the stock. The rats ran out every body worked hard, we had lunch on the job, hot tea and freshly baked bread home made bread with salted fresh butter and salt cheese and onions. At the end of the day the women made a meal, the farmers in the parlour, labourers in the kitchen and others in the yard.
Fresh bread hot tea fresh milk and usually boiled ham green beans boiled potato with a fresh parsley sauce. Some beer and much conversation as the day and then the year was relived. Tired knackered home to bed to wake at dawn for the next day until all the neighbouring farms were finished.
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