At the Hay Festival, Ellie Harrison goes on a wildlife safari and Sean is on a literary adventure with a group drawing inspiration from the Wye Valley countryside.
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where the mighty River Wye flows through Wales and England.
The landscape doesn't get much more beautiful than this.
But this is an area that that's better known for its books
than its looks. This is the Hay Festival,
one of the country's biggest and best literature festivals.
We're going to be meeting some of the writers here and exploring
the themes here at the festival and in the countryside around us.
Tom asks if we've fallen out of love with organic food.
The premiums we had been promised weren't there.
The financial smart thing to do then was to revert back to conventional.
Adam's getting a hi-tech view of his farm.
600 grams. That's incredibly light, isn't it? Very lightweight.
And John is joined by Deborah Meaden and Simon King to launch this
year's Countryfile Photographic Competition.
It's quite cosy and quite warm in here.
It is. It sure is. And a little claustrophobic!
The River Wye meandering through fields, past towns.
that straddles the English-Welsh border and we're based today
in Hay-on-Wye, home to the famous festival.
It's one of the UK's biggest and best-known literary festivals.
We'll be soaking up the atmosphere, meeting the odd writer and
finding literary inspiration in the surrounding countryside.
People come from all over the world to lap up the atmosphere at
the festival. There are all sorts of events and talks and
a wide range of things to get involved in.
At this year's festival, there's a strong countryside theme and
Hannah Marshall from the Woodland Trust is going to tell me more.
Hannah, it wouldn't be a British festival without pouring rain.
And very fittingly, we're sitting on sunny deckchairs!
Why not? Tell me about what the Woodland Trust are doing here at the
festival. So, here at the festival, we're launching our charter for the
woods and trees, it's a relaunch of the 800-year-old charter.
It's a way to engage the public in planting trees,
in telling us the stories and what memories they have of trees.
We're giving away free trees to anybody that wants them and
wants to sign the charter. What we're going to do is we're
going to record their postcodes and we're actually going to create
a map of where the trees are all going to be planted.
And then from there, we're going to record that into
our 64 million tree planting target for 2025.
What are the trees that you've got on offer for people to take away?
So we've got a silver birch next to you,
which is a beautifully tall, fast-growing tree. Yes, yes.
We've got Rowan, which is absolutely stunning for the wildlife,
with those beautiful red berries. Oh, yeah.
because I've got north-facing garden that's clay soil.
It's a gardener's dream(!) Stunning. That's a difficult one.
We'd probably go with a goat willow for that one.
It should hopefully do well with the moist clay, if it sort of gets a
bit waterlogged, and it'll be great for the local bees and wildlife.
Lovely. Add me to the map. I'll take my willow away. Perfect.
All right, I'll see you soon. Thank you. Thank you.
'The rural setting of the festival is a key part of its charm,
'where you'll bump into old friends.. .' Jules! Ellie!
You absorb all the countryside getting here. Yeah.
Cos it's, you know... It feels quite a remote place.
I've never been to Hay before and I like wild swimming and everyone
was like, dip in the river, and get yourself in amongst some books.
Deep immersion in the countryside! Yeah!
This year marks the festival's 30th anniversary.
Peter Florence has been involved since the start.
The festival's grown a bit in the 30 years.
Well, yeah, but it's in really important ways exactly the
It started out as a sort of gathering.
You put down a picnic rug, you say, "Come and have a meal, tell
and it's just a bigger picnic rug now.
Why is it important that it's in this rural setting?
It's almost impossible not to look at all this green and think -
it's so beautiful, it's so liberating.
you want to throw yourself into the landscape.
What's the impact on the town and on the countryside of all these
people descending for the festival? There have been moments when
it's been tested. The big thing came in 2001 -
we had foot and mouth outbreak four miles down the road,
and we knew it was sort of game over and we called
a public meeting and the Young Farmers said, no - if you go down,
so they ran the footbaths for all the people to walk over
they managed to man all the gates and all the public footpaths.
They took ownership of the festival and it became not
a kind of cultural thing, but a community thing.
And restoring this place back to life without the festival,
You come back in six weeks' time, the sheep will be back,
the grass will be beaten down, it'll be a field again.
There's plenty on offer besides books.
Young minds can get to grips with all sorts of activities.
There's herb brushes. This one's made out of mint.
Ella, can you give me some advice on how to do this?
What do I need to do? You have to get the end like this, that bit...
Yeah. ..into a colour and wipe on the paper.
Hi, Sarah. Hello. What are you making here?
So these are based on Guatemalan worry dolls, but without the worry.
So they're just something to tell your stories to.
Are you guys quite inspired by the countryside, then? Yeah.
Our Gran lives in the countryside, so we love going up to see her.
'Later, I'll be heading off with a well-known children's
'illustrator on a very special wildlife safari, but first...'
the amount of land being farmed organically has been dropping.
So are farmers falling out of love with organics, and if so, why?
30 years ago, and a green revolution was taking place.
It was set to change the face of farming.
From cosmetics to crops, the organic movement promised, for those who
could afford it, a bounty of health, taste and environmental benefits.
And as many began to question industrial farming methods
and what was going on our skin and in our food,
It was expected to revolutionise our farms and food and some
famous faces were predicting big things for it.
One prediction is that by the year 2000,
20% of all British agriculture will be grown organically.
But far from revolutionising our agriculture,
the amount of land used to grow organic food
has actually fallen by a third here in the UK in the last seven years.
Now, John may have predicted 20%, but we're not even close.
In fact, right now, just 3% of our farmland is organic.
given that the worldwide organic market is now worth ?60 billion
and here in Britain, we account for almost 2 billion of that.
So, if the demand is there, why aren't farmers rushing to meet it?
Well, Dai Evans did. He owns a 300-acre sheep farm in West Wales.
In 2008, he converted to organic, but just six years later,
What is it that got you into organic farming in the first place?
Well, about 15 years ago, the Welsh Assembly announced that they
had a target of having 20% of Welsh farmers farming organically.
We looked at the options and the package they were offering
and we decided that was the way to go for us then as a family farm.
Was it partly an ideological motive as well?
That it would be good for the wildlife, the landscape?
Obviously, we are interested in caring for our environment,
so that we pass on to the next generation the land then in
But changing to organic farming isn't easy.
It's a two-year process known as conversion.
In that time, you can't use artificial chemicals or
fertilisers, but you can't call your produce organic either.
For Dai, it was a tough time, but once finished,
he'd expected to get more cash for his new organic lambs.
The premiums we had been promised weren't there.
We could see in our local supermarket then really that
the cost of organic meat was higher, but the supermarkets weren't
prepared to pass on the extra money that they received to the farmer.
'And losing out on sales wasn't Dai's only problem.'
There was a lot of farms that converted to organic.
The old adage of supply and demand then and the meat then that
was available for the supermarkets to buy, there was an oversupply.
How did you feel about getting out of it?
I just realised then that the market wasn't what it was perceived
to be initially and the financial smart thing to do then was to
Would you go back to being an organic farmer?
We would want more guarantees that we would be financially
rewarded then for our efforts once we were organic again.
'And it's not just sheep farmers struggling.
'Beef farmers rearing chemical-free cattle are working harder for
'Arable farmers are battling disease and unpredictable demand.
'And with costs of organic feed continually increasing,
'even dairy farmers are feeling the pinch.'
The simple fact is that in some areas, organic farming is
becoming increasingly difficult and farmers are dropping out.
So, can organic farming really work here in the UK?
She's Head of Farming at the Soil Association.
Don't these figures overall suggest that it's tough to make money
out of organic farming? Some people have tried it,
haven't really made much money, and have gone out of it again.
Isn't that the reality? I think farming is tough.
But organic farming is particularly tough.
Um, I would say if you are an organic beef-and-sheep farmer,
there's not a huge amount of difference.
I think if you're an organic arable farmer, the requirement in terms
of timing is far more stringent than, say, for a non-organic farmer.
Why do you think there has been this pretty steep drop in the area
of land under organic farming in recent years?
I think there's been a lag effect after the recession
many retailers decided that consumers wouldn't want to
buy organic food, so they reduced the shelf space available.
And hence, organic food sales fell because it just wasn't available.
Farmers took that message and they started to come out of organic.
What's happening now is we're seeing that reverse,
as the demand for organic food is now in its third year of growth.
'but can they make it work and meet the demand?'
diversity is key and by that I mean having a range of different
crops and also in many cases having livestock, as well as crops.
Are you getting the government support that you need?
Well, at the moment, farmers who want to go into conversion benefit
from support under the Countryside Stewardship scheme,
which takes them through the two years of conversion.
'There is other funding to help farmers through conversion,
'but the Soil Association say in the UK that's lower than much
'of Europe. In Denmark, for instance, the government plans
'to double the amount of organic land by 2020 and payments there
I think there's a real need for support,
in terms of helping farmers who want to go organic in understanding
how to farm organically. And what are you doing,
as the Soil Association, to help organic farmers?
We've been running it now for over seven years.
And that takes about 20 people a year who want to come in to
Where are you seeing the green shoots of organic farming recovery?
Where the organic farmer themselves can see
Essentially, an independent route to market.
And that works well for smaller businesses - especially,
Organic farming uses a lot of labour and on a larger farm,
so do smaller holdings have the key to growing more organic veg?
Jamie Carr thinks so. He trained with the Soil Association.
With no farming in his blood, but brimming with passion, he
started his own organic smallholding in Oxfordshire, growing veg.
Nice to see you. You've got a very vigorous-looking crop going here.
Can I give you hand at all? Yeah, yeah, go for it. What am I doing?
Well, we're just pinching and twisting tomatoes, so if you
see where there's one growing out of the elbow, just snap that off.
Simple as. Why did you get into organic farming?
Ideological reasons. I think this is the way forward for agriculture.
You can grow incredible amounts of crops.
You can grow four, five crops in the same spot.
So my two acres has suddenly become ten.
I'm probably taking about maybe ?600 profit a month.
That's considerably less than the average income.
It is, but I've only been going since October, most of which
time, I've been building polytunnels, planting things.
what we're working on now will actually be on the market. Exactly.
Making you a little bit more money. I don't think it's too bad.
I struggle to work out how you can do organic on a really,
The way that big arable operations are run,
it feels to me too removed from all the bits that make organic work.
You know, a really close observation of soil,
how things interact and all this sort of stuff,
so I think we need a lot more farmers on small operations,
So, how am I doing? Have I ruined your crop? Dented your income?
Um, they... I think I'll go back over them, but they look OK!
I'm sure you'll go back and check them!
And maybe Jamie's on to something and the future of our organic
farming is in the hands of smallholders, driven by their
passion and belief that their way really is the good life.
SEAN: Our landscape has been inspirational to artists and writers
Here at the Hay Festival, I'm meeting teenagers from all
over Wales, chosen from hundreds to take part in the Beacons Project,
an initiative to nurture and inspire the next generation of
And the festival is perfectly placed, surrounded by
stunning countryside, to bring out the budding writer in all of us.
Some of you don't look like you like walking. I'm not sure.
LAUGHTER There's a glum face there, no?
Leading the workshop is local author Tom Bullou,
who grew up on a farm not far from here.
The landscape has played a big part in all of his writing.
And today, he's sharing his love of his home turf with some of
My favourite thing about storytelling is just creating a
whole new world and being somewhere different, like you can escape.
It can help us become closer, more empathetic,
What could tell you that we're on the Wales-England border?
Sheep. Sheep, yeah. No, no. It's a good point.
The sheep, absolutely. It looks a bit sunnier over there!
This workshop is all about getting the students to explore their
And to put those responses into words.
They're trying to capture fleeting moments, rapidly changing.
A mist moves in that transforms the landscape.
And just go through each of your senses in turn and think
I'm heading down the hill where the mist has cleared to grab
We're looking at some young writers who are spending most of
their time in tents down in Hay Festival at the moment.
And writers who are familiar with this landscape to some extent,
But I think it's important to bring them up here and ask them to
really look at the landscape that's surrounding them and use
so think about what smells they might be able to pick up here,
think about what the ground feels like, what the air feels like,
what the cold feels like. Yeah, yeah. And it's been dramatic.
The change has been dramatic. I mean, you think, 20 minutes ago,
we couldn't see a couple of metres in front of us.
But you know, if you're going to write about this part of the world,
a dynamic landscape and the weather reflects that.
"The rain was sniping through the unfurling fern,
"shuddering the red globe flowers of the wimberries.
"As they came to the common and the sheep dispersed among the quarries,
"the wary yearlings and the bare hawthorns,
"Oliver crossed the rutted lane and turned his back to the wind
The Beacons Project is developing confidence in young people.
It's really good to see experienced writers like Tom sharing
their knowledge and encouraging the next generation to build
"Peculiar, enigmatic, untamed, liberated.
"The horses' refined box fringes, sculpted, yet untouched."
"The cold is almost comforting, biting her bare hands as she sits.
"Yet the mist is restrictive, almost opaque,
Right, it's that time of year again -
the Countryfile Photographic Competition for 2017
Here's John with this year's theme and details of how to take part.
Wilderness Britain, a landscape barely touched by human presence.
The best our islands have to offer in any weather, in any season.
Vistas which often only wild animals see.
A huge challenge for anyone with a camera,
It's time to launch the Countryfile Photographic Competition.
Our theme this year is Call Of The Wild.
And we want you to grab your cameras, your smartphones,
and capture the British countryside and its wildlife at their very best.
We've been called to the wilds of deepest Dorset.
RSPB Arne is a sparkling gem on the edge of Poole Harbour.
It's a place loved by award-winning wildlife presenter and
cameraman Simon King, whose work takes him all over the world.
And Dragons' Den mainstay and keen amateur photographer
Deborah Meaden will also be giving her verdict on your entries.
Luckily for Countryfile, both Deborah and Simon are once
again in when it comes to judging our competition.
Well, we've got a fantastic location for launching the competition
this year. Maybe we'll go for a little photo safari in a moment.
Let's do it. But our theme this year is Call Of The Wild,
so what do you make of that, Deborah?
Oh, it speaks to me because I actually get that tug towards
nature, not just look at it, and that's what it says to me,
Call Of The Wild, what does that mean to you?
Well, I think the keyword there is wild.
So for me, wilderness, as you were saying, Deborah, is what moves
me, what motivates me, what touches me and what ignites my soul.
It's a sense that we can be part of a landscape that is much as
Now, let's go for a little safari, shall we?
There are magnificent places all over the county, but Arne really
is a standout reserve because of its diversity in such a small space.
And it's got keystone species that you just absolutely associate
with this sort of landscape, you hardly ever see anywhere else.
'First stop on our safari is to try out equipment most of us
'already have on us - smartphone cameras.
'The insects of this freshwater pond are tricky to snap,
'so a clip-on macro lens really helps.'
Your minimum focus on the phone as it stands might be say 15cm,
That's not close enough to get it filling the frame.
This attached means you can get even closer. Ah!
On my mobile phone, Simon, I can't zoom in and out. I don't know why.
To be honest with you, there are some phones where you can
just what looks like zoom in on the image, by expanding the image.
What you are doing is cropping in on your existing number of pixels.
I wouldn't do it because you can crop in later.
All you're going to end up doing is actually getting a grainy picture.
'Whatever your wildlife calling, can I remind you
'that pictures of pets are not allowed, nor are zoo animals.
'And any images of UK wildlife in captivity
Whatever you photograph, please do it responsibly.
Take care not to disturb any creatures,
Next, Simon's taking us to one of his favourite spots to try
They're mid price, with good zoom lenses.
How close would I have to get with this camera to get quite a close up?
This one, I think, has got about a 30X zoom, so actually,
you could get a pretty good shot already.
'RSPB Arne is home to a laid-back herd of 200 sika deer.'
We do get an awful lot of deer pictures sent in.
So it has to be different, doesn't it?
Absolutely. The one that's going to catch the eye. Absolutely.
You're right. You're looking for more.
time at all four corners of the frame.
How are you doing, Deborah, with your bridge camera?
Well, I'm not sure I've got the special one.
But actually, what I love about this is it's
so light that it's really easy just to manoeuvre and hold still and...
And of course, what we're looking for are wonderful pictures of
the countryside, not necessarily with wildlife.
Well, actually, I've just taken some pictures of this really gorgeous...
I looked up and thought it just looks lovely.
Do you think you've got what it takes to enter?
We'll be looking at every one of the many thousands of entries
that you send in and picking the very best for our Countryfile
calendar, which goes on sale later this year in aid of
Buy one and you'll get some amazing photos to look at on your
And of course, as usual, we'll have an overall winner,
voted for by you, our Countryfile viewers.
Not only will that picture grace the cover of our calendar, the winner
will receive a voucher for ?1,000 to be spent on photographic kit.
The person who takes the judges' favourite photo will receive
a voucher for ?500, also to be spent on equipment.
And specialist kit can be a godsend in trying to snap elusive
In goes the camera. And this? Yes, please, yeah.
'Arne is home to one of Britain's rarest birds,
'the Dartford warbler. They're hard enough to see,
It's quite cosy and quite warm in here.
It is. It sure is. And a little claustrophobic.
'Patience is certainly a virtue when it comes to photography in the wild
'and Simon will be back later to await his camera-shy subject.
'But in the meantime, let's get his expert opinion on how
'successfully Deborah and I captured our walk on the wild side today.'
Well, here's one I got on the mobile.
And it was what you were saying, Simon,
because I took a big wide shot but then if you crop it, you see?
Yeah, nice frame. That's lovely. There's the damsel fly.
And it almost looks as though it's been caught in a net, doesn't it?
Yeah, with the reflected reed. Yeah, yeah.
That's a very good tip. Now, Deborah. What about yours?
Well, I did mine with the bridge camera, of course.
You've got a good eye on this, Simon, but I quite like this one.
That's actually quite a nice composition.
Yeah, and the way she's actually looking straight...
People talk about thirds in pictures and if you're dividing your
picture into thirds, this is the classic example.
You've got your lower third, centre and the upper third.
Centre of interest with the log in the middle. Deer at the bottom.
And I like the position of the three heads as well.
Yeah. Well, thank you very much, both of you.
And see you for the judging. Looking forward to it.
Well, why not go on your own photographic safari and enter
You can submit up to three photographs that fit our theme,
We need your name, address and a contact number, written on
the back of the print, with a note of where the picture was taken.
The competition closes at midnight on Friday, the 21st of July.
Because we're looking for a really fresh crop of pictures,
I'm afraid those that have won previous national competitions
are not allowed, and neither is the work of professionals.
and I'm afraid that it's just not possible
The full terms and conditions are on our website,
where you'll also find details of the BBC's code of conduct
The competition closes at midnight on Friday, the 21st of July,
so that means you've got just under five weeks to send in your entries.
So why not heed the call of the wild and get those shutters clicking?
Did he capture Arne's camera-shy Dartford warblers?
ELLIE: We've been taking a look round the Hay Festival,
one of the biggest celebrations of books and words in the country,
and there's one author I'm keen to meet.
He's funny, he's clever, he's handsome...
I just hope he's as nice in real life as he is on the telly.
'Scuse me, would you mind signing my programme?
What are you doing at a literary festival? Can you read?!
Luckily, there are also professionals around.
well-known for the Horrible Histories series,
has turned his hand to wildlife with his latest book,
And we're off spotting animals of our own.
Even though we're just a short hop from the hustle and bustle
of the festival here, it feels like a world away.
A world that's full of curious creatures.
Hi, Martin. Hi, how are you? All right. And you? Very well indeed.
Got some beautiful cows here. They're quite well-known.
I thought you were all about the lesser-known animals.
Yeah, I guess I've been drawing the more exotic animals
Well, shall we do a local safari, and we'll see some of the small
and wonderful creatures from around here? Brilliant! Good.
And draw as we go? I think so. All right, thank you. Here's a pencil.
'We're in the Woolhope Dome area of Herefordshire,
'where farmer and conservationist Mark O'Brien is showing us around.'
Mark, your farm seems to be a haven for wildlife.
Yeah, that's just because there's an abundance of different habitats,
and also in these woods, we're doing a lot of copsing
to help the rare invertebrates in the wood.
Fantastic. So you're managing it sympathetically.
We've got rare wood white butterflies
along this woodland path here, so would you like to see some?
Yeah. Have you seen one of those before? No, no!
Wood white butterflies are on the wing right now,
but you'll be lucky to catch a glimpse -
They seem to be out when the sun is out, they're on the wing then,
so we're just going to have to try and draw when we see them,
or from our imaginations. How about that?
so I can kind of remember what they were when they were still.
This is proper safari sketching, isn't it? Yeah, yeah.
Quite angular little bodies, and then, really,
kind of overlapping wings when they stop.
Often it's the male that we see out on the wing,
and they've got this dark edge to their forewing,
That's how you tell a male from a female. Like a shadow. Yeah.
That's so fluttery. Here we go. Please keep still!
Just for a moment. Come on, this way, this way. Wait for it...
That's it, no, I've got... That's like a heart shape, that wing. Yeah.
That's got to come down there much more.
Just the slightest bit of pale markings showing through
So this would be how a child would draw it. That's good.
Children draw really well! SHE LAUGHS
Look, I've got... I've got a shape. You've got that beautiful wing.
That sort of heart-shaped thing, and then... It IS quite heart-shaped.
That was a hard one to start with. Next time we'll be luckier.
I reckon. OK. Let's try the next one.
There's probably about 15 of the nests in old trees
How fabulous. It's stunning. Shall we do a bit of sketching?
People might not have heard of wild honeybees.
They're essentially as a cultivated honeybee,
but just not managed by people, is that so? Exactly, exactly.
Well, I like my exotic stuff, but this has shown me
that there's amazing, amazing creatures right on your doorstep.
Shall we move on and see what else there is?
The countryside around Hay-on-Wye is home to a huge variety of wildlife.
You could easily get lucky and see a barn owl,
The next animal on our safari is a real superstar.
Definitely on the lesser-spotted list in recent years.
OK, David, we've got a nest in here.
Small-mammal recorders Denise Foster and her colleague David Lee
regularly checking the nest boxes in the area.
Hi, Ellie, yes, we have, we've got two in this box. Wow!
as you can see, they're quite grey in colour.
Is this the first time you've ever seen one? Yeah.
This time of year, they're eating caterpillars and insects,
and they're normally high up in the canopy,
so we're extremely lucky to find these two in this box today.
They're hard to spot at the best of times, aren't they,
And what's the monitoring you're doing?
We just sort of weigh them and then sex them, so male and female,
We'll leave you to it. Thank you so much! OK. See you later. Thank you.
'This time, we're relying on photographs to draw from.'
Not sure about my interpretation skills, but I'll do my best.
I'm a cartoonist - I don't draw realistically ever.
You've done that thing that artists do way you draw an egg
and you draw a box, and you've actually then
It's that thing of kind of seeing the shapes in the thing
Like, a cow is basically a box with a pointy bit at the front. Yeah.
Slugs are easy. SHE CHUCKLES
All you need is a pad and pencil, and the great outdoors,
and you, too, can head out on your own lesser-spotted safari.
Now, the lack of rainfall in the last few months
has been a worry for farmers up and down the land.
But Adam's seeing how high tech can help.
ADAM: So far, this year has been one of the driest in a decade.
Some areas of the UK have had a fifth of their normal rainfall.
As farmers, we're in the lap of the gods sometimes,
especially when it comes to the weather and pests and diseases.
we can work with Mother Nature to get the best out of our crops.
'Farming may be one of our oldest industries, but in this digital age,
'many farmers now rely on advances in agricultural technology.'
Here on our farm, the crops are kept in check by an agronomist.
and he walks the fields with our arable manager, and then advises
on seed varieties, fertiliser, and crop-protection products.
But some farmers are taking to the skies
to pinpoint areas that need attention.
Paul O'Shea and David Caplin get a bird's-eye view of the crops
using this bit of kit that Paul's just putting together.
Hello. How are you doing, OK? Yes, good thanks.
My word, this looks very exciting. What have we got here?
This is a professional mapping drone that we use primarily
in the construction industry, but more recently,
we've recognised that it has its uses in the agricultural market.
It basically identifies healthy crop from dying crop. Brilliant.
Now, I'm not highly technical, so how does it work?
Well, we upload a flight plan on our computer,
It's fully autonomous - we throw it in the air,
it flies the fields, and captures data at the same time.
The drones I've seen are like little helicopters,
Yes, they're multi-rotors - this is what's called a fixed wing.
It's a lot lighter, it can go longer distances,
and therefore it can gather more data.
Can I hold it? Yes, you sure can. 600 grams.
That's incredibly light, isn't it? It is very lightweight.
ADAM CHUCKLES Basically polystyrene!
Can we see it in the air? We sure can.
If you stand back, we'll get it up for you. OK.
As the drone soars to a height of 120 metres,
it will follow a flight plan up and down our fields.
and with the help of a special camera,
Paul is able to convert the images into a colour index called NDVI.
I really need a science bod to explain the basics to me,
So, this leaf from the crop is a nice, healthy green.
This one here is less healthy, more of a yellowy colour,
is reflecting very strongly in the colour green.
It's not reflecting so strongly in the red colour or the blue colour.
so this one is reflecting slightly less green and slightly more red.
That's why it appears yellow in colour.
And our NDVI camera is trying to detect the difference
That's all very clever, but can I not see that with my naked eye -
where there's yellow and where there's green?
You can, yes, but it'll take you quite a while
So the advantage of the drone is it flies at about 60 miles an hour,
and it can cover that distance in a lot shorter time.
It sounds like this device can save us farmers a lot of time and energy.
An agronomist who I've been working with for the last 25 years.
Hi, Jim. Hi, Adam. My word, look at you with your computer.
How things have changed over the years we've been working together!
It's moved on a bit, hasn't it? It really has!
How can this be used, then? How can you benefit from the drone?
Currently we do use satellite imagery
Now, a drone is able to usurp to some degree the satellite imagery,
because it's not dependent on cloud level.
The other advantage is that its resolution is much higher
You know, they're small enough and beginning to become cheap enough
for farmers to actually own themselves.
Even though Jim has known these fields for donkey's years,
the eye in the sky is giving him a view he otherwise wouldn't have.
He's going to show me how he can pinpoint a problem area.
It's called an Umbelliferae, but in basic terms, wild carrot. Right!
Now, we know we've got to strip down this edge of the field,
and to be fair, it wouldn't take any great determination
to work out where to put the sprayer.
But if we'd had this strip out in the middle of the field, and...
not exactly forgotten where it was, but couldn't work out exactly
where it was, a big thick strip of this in the middle of a field
A lot of wet seed, which is difficult to deal with,
causing a lot of problems in storage.
So, we would know where we had to go and put the sprayer.
The sprayer could go out, spray off without doing the whole field,
It's about that accuracy for you, isn't it? It is.
Not putting the wrong stuff in the wrong place.
It's all about that, because you imagine what it's like
trying to wade out through this crop.
Trying to work out where that strip is
out in the middle of the field would take an enormous amount of effort.
It is, and this is a short crop compared to some!
You know, so, the ability of that drone to pinpoint
where the problem is is hugely useful from our point of view.
Using drones as a tool to survey our crops
but can also be good for the environment,
and a useful weapon in the fight against dry conditions.
The sprayer has been programmed to target those problem areas.
They say that the definition of a good farmer is a man outstanding
in his field, which basically means we'll never get away
from walking our crops, but it's been great seeing the drone
The progression of technology in agriculture is just extraordinary,
and what's important is that we make the most of it
SEAN: Back in Hay-on-Wye, the literary festival is in full swing.
There's a feast of books to feed the mind,
but it's my grumbling tummy I need to sort out,
and I think I've found the right place.
Hay Festival might be all about the books,
in supporting local food producers, too,
and there's plenty of good local food to tickle the tastebuds.
Recent years have seen a surge in the popularity of venison,
but one Welsh farm was way ahead of the curve,
selling the meat here at Hay for the past 30 years.
This sheep-farming family took the bold and brave decision
to switch from rearing small, woolly animals to keeping much larger ones.
You wouldn't mess with one of those, would you? No.
They caught the venison bug on a trip to New Zealand,
Andrew and Elaine now farm a 300-strong herd of deer in the
They're so graceful, aren't they? Just elegant.
But difficult to round up, I guess. No, not too bad.
Would we be in this field during rutting season?
Not in the rutting September time, no, it would be, you know,
it wouldn't be a safe place to be. Are they just dangerous anyway?
Looking at the - well, the antlers on those. No, they're...
They could do some damage, couldn't they?
As long... We see them most days, so they become familiar with us,
Venison is becoming quite fashionable now,
but you were doing this back in the '80s.
It's very popular, you know, chefs, telly programmes raise the profile.
Is it a seasonal meat? In the same way as sheep.
Historically it was, but because we're in a farmed environment,
we've got a consistent supply of a good product all year round.
It's been a busy week for the Morgans,
but now they're ready for the festival.
Your tomatoes are a bit thick, aren't they?
I think I'm better at front of house. Yeah, I reckon so, too.
And their daughter, Megan, really knows how to crack the whip.
So, salad first. Yeah, how much of this do we put in?
Oh, not too much. Is that going to ruin all your profits?
Yeah. Not too much now. One slice of tomato, not too many.
so can one of these burgers slip off the conveyor belt into my plate?
Oh, if you work hard enough today, maybe.
So, the burgers, where are they? Just in the middle one there.
I have to say, they look very nice today. Oh. Just today? Every day.
I picked out a really good one for you there.
Are you having the burger with the salad?
Whilst the Morgans made the move from sheep to dear,
Martin and Juliet Noble share an anniversary with the Hay Festival.
It was 30 years ago on a farm not far from here that they
became the first commercial producers of sheep's milk ice cream.
you made the switch from cow's milk to sheep's milk.
Well, we did that because actually we were new to farming when
we started milking sheep and we didn't really know how to milk cows,
and I suppose the whole investment in equipment was much higher.
And we'd read a book that told us that from sheep, you could get...
From dairy sheep, you could get milk,
And then we started to make ice cream quite soon afterwards.
How did it go down 30 years ago, sheep's milk ice cream?
Well, it was slightly challenging, we used to have sheep's milk written
on all our signs and things, and every now and again you would see
people in the queue and they would spot it and go,
"Oh, it sheep's milk." And they'd leave the queue.
We spent a lot of time trying to get people into the queue.
What are customers like here at Hay?
Well, Hay customers are, you know, they're right up for it.
And also, because we've been here 30 years, loads of people come,
You must feel really proud that the people keep coming back.
Certainly, ice cream is a lovely thing to do,
people are always happy when they buy ice cream.
Does it make any difference that it's sheep's milk?
Does it taste any different to normal ice cream? No.
They just capture such good, different flavours.
It's not quite as rich as cow's milk.
do I rummage around the book stores looking for a literary bargain?
Or do I spend my pennies on an ice cream?
but fingers crossed it will be over the next week.
Let's find out from the Countryfile five-day forecast.
It's a case of, be careful what you wish for. The place to be was along
the coast today, eating an ice cream. A bit of fair weather cloud
in Scotland, but a beautiful day, hardly a cloud in the sky for
Cornwall. In the south-east, it was the hottest day of the year so far,
32 Celsius in Greater London. The heat was fairly extensive today
across England and Wales, high 20s and low 30s, as you can see. Just
the far north-west, a little more disappointing, with cloud and
showery outbreaks of rain continuing. The hot air has been
sitting to the south of that weather front, behind it, fresher
conditions. That will play a subtle part as we move into Tuesday. That
front in the south-west is still producing showery outbreaks of rain
and poor visibility on the coast. Further south, a humid, sticky night
for trying to sleep. It will be a warm start to Monday morning, hardly
a cloud in the sky again and the temperatures are set to rocket. The
weather front slowly sinks its way south into central Scotland, but for
the bulk of the country, a dry and sunny story, with just the outside
chance of catching a shower if the heat triggers them off, but they
will be fleeting. Temperatures could be up to 31 Celsius. With light
breezes, it could feel pretty hot, even close to the coast. Clouding
over a little into Northern Ireland and Central Scotland as we go into
the day, from that weather front. The Northern Isles and the Western
Isles will see some brightness tomorrow, maybe just a shower, but
certainly better than it has been. The weather front will sink South
overnight from Monday into Tuesday. Nothing in terms of rain, but behind
it is a cold front, so fresher air. Mid-teens into Scotland, mid-to high
20s into Scotland. It stays hot and humid to the south of that front.
That front clears through as we move into Wednesday and allows this front
of moving from the Atlantic, which could trigger sharp potentially
thundery downpours. It will steadily push its way to the East, but ahead
of it, a good deal of dry weather, with that heat remaining in the
south-east. A little fresher to the north-east with the breeze from the
sea. These two weather fronts are straddled across the country, known
as a broad warm sector, and that will drag in hot air out of the
south-east. On Thursday, we could see temperatures around 30 Celsius
and above, but it is a fleeting heat, because behind that front,
fresher air, and many will see high teens and low 20s. An area of low
pressure moves in on Friday to the north-west, bringing increasing wind
and heavy rain for a time across the Northwest and into Northern Ireland.
It will weaken as it pushes east, so no substantial rainfall for England
and Wales. A more pleasant feel, albeit on the breezy site. That is
the theme as we go into next weekend. Some cooler days and
fresher nights. And it is a case We are at the Hay literary festival
in the beautiful Wye Valley. Thinkers and writers from all over
the world have gathered to share ideas in the most perfect
rural setting. I've been exploring the
countryside round about, and the wildlife safari I did
earlier has left me wanting more. There's one creature I'm
dying to see. My pursuit started back in
March up in North Wales, where I only saw them from
a distance. I'm headed for Herefordshire,
countryside to stir the spirit. And for a lover of wildlife,
a kind of paradise. Ecologist Nigel Hand shares
my passion. He's been studying these elusive
animals for a decade. If anyone can get
me close to an adder, it's him. Hi, Nigel, how are you? Hello.
Good to see you. Nice to meet you. So, what's your method for tracking
down the adders, then? Well, bizarrely, I can smell them
on site, which sounds a bit odd. Can everyone smell them, or have you
just got a particular sense for it? I think I've been working round
them so long now. Is that the only method?
No, I have another method, actually. Radio telemetry.
This looks more technical. So I have a receiver and an aerial,
and we put a tag on a snake. And then we type its number in
and pick up the signal of the So you've tagged
a number of snakes around this site? We've tagged ten snakes on this
site, and we've been following
them around since early April. So which one are we going
to go and track? We are going to go track 299,
which is a female. OK. The sun's out,
so she might be basking. 'Right now,
299 could have shed her skin, 'which means she may have cast off
the tracking device, too. 'We can't be sure of what we'll
find.' We're very close now.
Do I need to keep quiet? 34. It's really exciting!
SHE WHISPERS: I like this. I guess with those very
distinctive zigzag markings, in this dead bracken,
she'd be so well camouflaged. I think she's curled up in there,
Ellie, actually. 'On with the special bite-proof
gauntlets.' Oh, my goodness, Nigel,
you're so good at finding them. I'm just going to grab her,
just to have a quick look at her condition and see how close she is
to shedding her skin, Ellie. You can see the tag there on her
quite clearly. Yes, it's put on with
a medical tape, Ellie, and the aerial is
about 12 centimetres. Oh, I see. It looks almost like it's
gone under the skin, And it doesn't change
the way they behave? Not at all, we've seen them
combating, in courtship and mating,
and even feeding with the tags on, so it doesn't seem to impair
their behaviour. we've pulled her out of the very
humid part of the dead bracken. At this time of year, when they're
coming to shed their skins, they need that humidity to help
soften the skin. Today or tomorrow, she's probably
going to shed her skin. So we'll be finding another tag
at some point. That's really exciting,
getting this close to one, isn't it? That was so cool,
seeing her so close up! Do you still get the buzz even
all these years on? It doesn't leave you, actually.
I think every snake is a new snake. Nigel's research
has shown that males travel greater distances than females during
the breeding season. And where adders come
face-to-face with humans, like here on this golf course,
Nigel's work is helping landowners manage their patch for
these rare animals. There are an estimated 100,000 adult
adders in the UK, a number which has massively declined in recent
years, mainly due to habitat loss. But they're pretty
oblivious to humans, which is why they can peacefully
coexist here alongside the golfers. If we leave them alone,
they should do us the same courtesy. The Wye Valley is
a landscape full of surprises. Back at the Hay Festival, we've got
a big surprise of our own to share. Please put your hands together for
the Countryfile presenters Good evening, everybody.
Good evening. Thank you very much to the
Hay Festival for having us. And thank you to everybody who
has bought the Countryfile calendar for 2017. Yes,
sales last year were staggering. You've helped us raise
a truly unbelievable amount for Children in Need.
And that figure is... It's a staggering amount going to
Children In Need, and it's a record-breaker for us,
too. And if you'd like to take part in
next year's calendar, by entering our photographic competition,
all the details are on our website. Next week, I'll be taking a look at
some of our working animals, including the robots that are
changing the face of falconry. Not to be missed.
I'm sure you'll all agree. Thanks so much for having us.
Bye-bye. Goodbye. The BAFTA award-winning comedian
returns, The BAFTA award-winning comedian
returns, some of his finest
and funniest moments.
Ellie Harrison and Sean Fletcher are at the Hay Festival, one of the UK's biggest literature and arts festivals.
Ellie goes behind the scenes to meet some of the writers and artists, the organisers and many of the thousands of visitors who flock here each year. She then heads out to the country for a special wildlife safari inspired by one of the books on show. She also joins the team spotting and tagging adders using radio tracking devices.
Sean is on a literary adventure of his own with a group drawing inspiration from the beautiful Wye Valley countryside. He also meets some local food producers at the festival, including one who's putting a whole new spin on ice cream.
Adam Henson looks at how new technology can help in the fight against drought, and John Craven is here with new news of this year's Countryfile Photographic Competition.
Organic food has never been more popular. The market for it continues to grow as across Britain more and more people are forking out to make sure what they eat is organic. So why is it that the amount of land in the UK farmed organically is falling? Tom Heap finds out.