As farmers, we are used to keeping a close eye on the weather. But in recent years, our job has been made all the more volatile by the new extremes in the weather brought about by our changing climate. Indeed, the very reason we decided to plant our vineyard was for a large part based on the evolution of the climate.

In the last few years, we have been experiencing ever hotter summers and ever wetter, milder winters (generally speaking). The vineyard field in particular was really struggling to produce cereals like it had done for generations prior. This particular field is free-draining thanks to a mixture of stones and various other soil types, as well as a chalky bed rock. This meant that in wet winters the soil would become very sticky, overwhelmed by the water it is used to draining (but unable to drain due to sheer volume of water). In the newly warmer springs and summers, it would not retain moisture at all (as it is free-draining). As a result, we were often having to plant our crops very early or very late to avoid getting stuck with our machinery is sticky mud, which also drowns the seedlings, only to have the plants almost wiped out by drought in the spring and summer. In a recent year, much of the farm was left fallow (unplanted) as we could not get onto the land due to excessive rain.

These climatic extremes are very concerning for us as farmers, and just one of the many reasons we are trying to do our bit for the planet- we have to work with nature every day, so anything we can do to stabilise climatic evolution, we will. Equally, we are businesses and therefore have to evolve while trying to slow down further climate change. In our case, we planted the vineyard which loves free-draining soil and hot summers. It seems obvious, but planting a vineyard takes a lot of research and preparation, and we were fortunate to have the right growing conditions to justify planting it.

To discuss the climate topic further, this week we were visited by Greatest Hits Radio (Bucks, Beds and Herts). They wanted to find out about how the hotter climate is affecting British agriculture, and why this led to our vineyard. It was very exciting to feature on the radio and also in an article on their site. To read the full article, please click here.