Bradfield: Farmers on cattle feed mission to Cumbria

John Mitchell ( left) with his father Brian Mitchell (right) and the haulier who transported the be

John Mitchell ( left) with his father Brian Mitchell (right) and the haulier who transported the beet from Essex to Cumbria - Credit: Archant

A farming family from Essex has answered a call to help cattle farmers in Cumbria.

Brian Mitchell and his sons, who run Ragmarsh Farm in Bradfield, near Manningtree, have donated 30 tonnes of fodder beet to help feed cattle in the northwest of the country. The prolonged cold weather earlier this year has left farmers in the region struggling to keep their cows well-nourished.

One son, Richard Mitchell, said: “We’ve all had unseasonal weather across the country but they have been hit especially hard in Cumbria. With the cold temperatures and the late snow everything hasn’t recovered and the grass isn’t growing like normal. They have run out of feed and we had some spare, so we decided to help.”

The venture was organised by the Princes Trust, which organised for Hopcroft Transport of Bicester to transport the vital feed from Suffolk to Carlisle at no charge.

And Mr Mitchell, who also runs the Ragmarsh Farmshop and Butchers in Manningtree, said the cold and wet start to the year is likely to lead to a poor cereal crop in the south-east.

He added: “The bad weather has meant that the spring crop has been delayed. It’s had to be pulled up and re-sown and we are likely to see a shortage of cereal crops like wheat, barley and rape. The rape is only up to thigh-height and it should be head-height by now.

“If we get a lot of sunshine and moist weather over the next couple of months things might recover but I don’t think that is likely.”