"The month of May is always a bit of a puzzler, with our industry hard at work ensuring that all types of food keeps arriving on the table in our homes, factories and farms.

            In May, the livestock is stopped from grazing the silage fields, and fertiliser is spread to allow six weeks of growth before silaging occurs. Fertiliser and muck spreading continues to happen throughout this month, and a number of crops, such as potatoes, cereals, sugar beet and peas, will be sprayed. 


May also tends to be the time that livestock buildings are thoroughly cleaned, and repairs to walls and fences will also take place if necessary.

The name of this month is likely derived from the Roman goddess Maia, who oversaw the growth of plants. Alternatively, the name might have come from the Latin elders or 'maiores' who were traditionally celebrated around this time of year.

The list of famous birthdays in May includes American revolutionary leader Patrick Henry (1736-1799) was born in Studley, Virginia. He is best remembered for his speech in 1775 declaring: "I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death."

As the wider conflict in Ukraine appears to be shrinking to a more ferocious affair in the east of the country, this month this column takes a look at other brave efforts from history, where freedom has been ensured in the face of what looked like certain death.

Ukraine has already lost at least US$1.5billion in grain exports since the war began on February 24, 2022, although the huge loss of human life is obviously a much more pressing concern.

As civilians, we can only watch on from afar with admiration of the tenacity and bloody mindedness of the defending Ukrainians. Very much like I'm sure we all have during the ongoing conflicts in Palestine, Somalia and Syria, to name just a few.

History does contain incidents such as this that have been resolved. In fact this month sees Cinco de Mayo celebrated in Mexico on May 5th. Cinco de Mayo is a national holiday in remembrance of the Battle of Puebla in 1862 which Mexican troops under General Ignacio Zaragoza, outnumbered three to one, defeating the invading French forces of Napoleon III.

A further option for Mr Zelensky et al is to retreat, seeking the sanctuary of safer Ukrainian territory. One example of this happening occurred on May 26, 1940 when the Dunkirk evacuation began in order to save the British Expeditionary Force trapped by advancing German armies on the northern coast of France.

Written into the history books as a 'glorious retreat', one thing is clear – it was certainly British hands that were operating the typewriter when that history book was written!

             Whatever happens in the region, we hope that it is peaceful and that a consensus is reached between both sides. So somewhat optimistically, I look forward to focussing on this peace in the next edition of this column."


To read more content like this, visit the Milling and Grain archive HERE.

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