Spring has now arrived and let’s hope that we have not seen the last of the sun and it continues in to the Summer. As I am sure you have seen on your drive around the countryside the fields are turning yellow. This brings with it a lot of finger pointing regarding the cores of hay fever for both humans and horse and also asthma.
BUT IS IT TO BLAME?
It is unlikely as rapeseed is 99.9% pollinated by bees and other insects therefore relying on pollination to happen without the use of wind unlike other plants. The plant itself has a strong distinctive smell which is a bit like marmite, you ether love it or your hate it. The reason for the sniffles and running noses is the time of year. From the Spring and leading in to the Summer is when the other species release their pollen and use the wind for pollination along with insects. These are plants and trees, with one for worst offenders being willows.
We are looking to see if rapeseed oil will help with hay fever in the same way as local honey does as it gives you pollen so your body can help build up a defence system for it. We will let you know the findings.
Why are there more Yellow Flowers than 10 years ago?
This is probably the most commonly asked question at shows. The reason for this is Britain as a whole has been more focused on sustainable farming and rapeseed is a part of a rotation that works in conjunction with the soil and the following years wheat. When rapeseed was first introduced it was subsidised by the EU. After being grown across the country and the rest of the world it found its own place in the world market as it could be used in a wide range of things, the EU withdrew its funding. At this point farmers saw that it had a good potential as a break crop to split crops that take all the nurturance out of the soil. This break crop allowed the soil to have a rest this also helped reduce the amount of sprays and fertiliser as it helps prevent pests and diseases getting established.
On the farm Cotswold Gold operate a Wheat, Rape Wheat, Beans rotation this helps us be sustainable and work with our soil. At the end of the day we have to look after the soil as it is our form of business and livelihood. Some areas in the world do not operate such sustainable rotations and have created dust bowel farming. This is the main reason for the increasing yellow flowers that stretch across our landscape. A thing of beauty or an eye sour that is for you do decided but it is grown in England and all I can recommend is try the oil and you will understand why on my farm we grow it bottle it and make it in to Cotswold Gold Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil.