Rain, Rain, Rain

04 January 2024

Last month we were preparing for the Christmas Bowhouse market which is always a busy one – but turned out to be a record breaker with over 7000 people attending and supporting the local food, drink and craft businesses who produce some truly fantastic stuff.  On the one hand, a full market is a good sign, on the other, it means a full car park – and autumn/winter 2023 has proven not to be conducive to parking in a field. With the amazing help of the Balcaskie team (and one or two partners drafted in), combined with so many cheerful and good spirited customers, we managed to slip, push, pull and spin everyone in and out.

I know that farmers are renowned for complaining about the weather – “its always too wet or too dry”, but just to put some perspective on 2023’s soggy performance;

  • 66% of days in 2023 had rain
  • 2023 was 30% wetter than average
  • 60% of the years rain came in the last 3 months

Why does this matter? Well other than it being pretty miserable, it is evident all around us how much flooding and runoff from farmland there has been – causing silting of drains/ditches and rivers, not to mention loosing topsoil and damaging property. It’s easy to forget that only 6 months ago we were panicking that there was no rain….. While this is a stark reminder that weather extremes are becoming more normal, it also should explain why we requires a holistic approach to mitigating the effects of extreme weather.

Several years ago,  community of local residents were concerned about the lack of water in the Dreel Burn over summer. They formed the Dreel Burn Project headed by the Anstruther Improvements Association with a clear goal;

“Our vision is of the Dreel Burn as a clean, biodiverse and vibrant river, valued by the farming, fishing, rural and urban communities of the East Neuk. To achieve this we will improve the burn as a source of water and precious green space for local residents and visitors, and as a natural habitat for wildlife.

The project will benefit and protect the sustainability of key industries in the wider catchment area, including agriculture, coastal fishing, shellfish breeding and tourism. We aim to transform local attitudes towards the burn, to ensure that the projects outcomes are sustainable and enduring.”

You can see more about the project here 

As an example of a community led project which has received support, funding and recognition from SEPA, Forth Rivers Trust and many more for its potential to benefit those people who are neighbours of the watercourse, the project is due to begin breaking ground next month.

Before leaving the subject of rain – one of the effects of this winter has been that our cattle on their daily moves to help improve soil structure and drainage – have been treated to many twice daily moves – With such waterlogged soils, they need to move faster to prevent damaging grass – this has meant that we have eaten 60% of our winter forage in 30% of the winter. So a few sleepless nights have been spent re-calculating emergency feed and stocks to enable some cattle to be re-housed.

We wish you all a very Happy New Year and let’s hope 2024 turns out to be successful in every way!


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