Steeple Bumpstead
Agricultural Discussion Society

Established 1929

Newsletter April 1996

February 5th ......Supper Meeting

We returned to the village hall this year and once again “Poppies” caterers presented us with so much good food that by the time we had finished eating many of us were fit to burst. Our guest speaker was Lord Ivar Mountbatten from Moynes Park. When first asked to speak, he was a little reluctant because he said that he did not know anything about farming. We were glad that he did not try to talk on farming because we hear that all the time at our regular meetings. He chose to talk, instead, about Moynes Park and his family. He was very much at ease with us and was quite candid about the family finances, especially when talking about his brother and the problems they had trying to turn the big house into a viable enterprise. He also gave a brief resume of where he fitted into the Royal family tree. I am afraid that he soon lost me because I am one of those people who cannot remember names, but I do remember that the Duke of Edinburgh was involved somewhere. We were doubly honoured because his wife Lady Penelope (not of Thunderbirds fame) also attended although the birth of her baby was imminent. They are a lovely couple who are very easy to talk to, and they did not leave until very late. It was an excellent evening.

March 4th........Andy Selley from DuPont

Andy is the exception that proves the rule. The rule in question is that good speakers cost money and people from commercial organisations are incapable of giving impartial advice. Andy’s subject was “a review of different fungicides” but he started by telling us about the work that DuPont are doing with diagnostic techniques that analyse samples taken from the growing crop. The method used is very similar to the AIDS test used by doctors. By identifying anti-bodies in the plant they can asses what diseases are present even though symptoms may not be visible at the time. With this early warning of disease it can be controlled with a lower dose of fungicide than if it were fully established. This is good for the farmer because he saves money and it is good for the environment because less chemical is used. We then had a bit of a sales talk because DuPont produce a fungicide that is good against some specific crop diseases, but Andy was quite fair about competitor’s products where they would be more effective that his own.

The evening was rounded off very nicely by a finger buffet that was provided courtesy of DuPont. They take the view that the way to a farmer’s wallet is through his stomach.

Next Meeting 15th April .... A.G.M.

With the attendance we normally get at the A.G.M. a couple of packets of Marks & Spencer’s sandwiches and half a pound of sausages on sticks would be more than enough for a finger buffet. But I am afraid there will not be one, so we will have to buy a packet of crisps down the pub afterwards.

Stephen Graves (Secretary)

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