The clocks change and the cattle brought in mark the passage into autumn

As we enter November, the clocks have changed and we are all going to experience darker evenings and brighter mornings, for a while at least.

The weather continued to be good in October and although it was wet at times, it remained exceptionally mild for this time of year.

Torridge Farms will soon be bringing in their cattle to be housed in barns and stables during the winter months.

Slower growth rates in winter mean there is less vegetation cover on the ground to protect it and the same cattle hooves that benefited the soil by trampling pastures in summer, now become damaging as they expose patches denuded of soil vulnerable to erosion.

Waterlogged soils also quickly turn to mud with stray livestock on top making it very difficult for plant species to grow and pastures would take a very long time to recover if livestock were left out and the move impedes overgrazing of the land. Either way, the slower growth rates also mean there isn’t enough forage to feed the cattle all winter, which is another reason why they are sheltered.

Farmers will now wonder if they have enough hay and silage to get through the winter, not knowing what it will do.

At home, after selling the dairy herd a few years ago, we now only manage a small herd of beef cattle, so the darkest days are less of a problem than those that start and end in the dark.

During these colder, darker months and with the energy markets still boiling, the same issue will preoccupy most households in Torridge, namely the seemingly ever-increasing cost of energy. .

There’s no doubt that residents and businesses will all be watching the thermometer more closely this year, as the temperatures we encounter will be critical in many homes and businesses, as people struggle with the amount of heating they have. need and what they can afford.

Although the government has provided aid to energy consumers, it will not cover the full rise and the ripple effect on people with less money for other essentials such as food and clothing becomes already apparent. I remind and encourage those in need to check out the household support sections on the Torridge Councils website to see the support and advice available, we are here to help where we can.

On a lighter note, councils chief executive Steve Hearse and I went to the district council network meeting in London last week as it was to be an opportunity to meet other leaders of district, general managers and deputies. Unfortunately, MPs were distracted by a heated vote on fracking, so they were largely absent, but meeting other council leaders was very helpful.

While everyone can have issues in their own areas, we discussed many common themes throughout the evening, such as housing and planning, but at Torridge we recognize that housing is the issue. major. We made further progress in this direction during Monday’s full council meeting when we discussed the feasibility of advancing some of the few council-owned land to be developed with affordable units. At the moment these options are still under consideration, but I hope to be able to write more about them in the very near future.

Ken James, Leader of Torridge District Council

Ken James, Head of North Devon Council