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With over 5cm (2in) of rain falling in one day recently, and no drying since, any thought of field work has been abandoned. Forage maize, grown under plastic for the first time, is almost ready for harvest, but again, ground conditions are impossible.

How will it yield if we manage to save it? The maize expert says 50t/ha, but I reckon around 40t/ha, as I know there is a substantial area of average crop that cannot be seen from the gate. Our 16ha of let out potato land has produced a beautiful crop of Cultra, but our tenants, Dessie, Raymond & Co have only managed to harvest the headlands to date. The bad news continues as our wheat – looks like rice – is not making the specification. I do not deny a customer the right to specify a quality standard, even though in this case there is no science to prove that low hectolitre weights equate to poorer animal performance. But surely in a good year, the converse should apply and a bonus be added for anything above the minimum. We, the risk-taking primary producers, should demand fair treatment.

Following the recent tragic farm accident in this area, our industry is upping the health and safety profile and this afternoon I will be attending a roadshow on improving awareness of all the issues involved. Credit should be given to those who organise events such as these.

The good news concerns Ulster rugby. Their performances this year have been fantastic and the fans are optimistic of at least a European cup knock-out place.

Mistake of the Month: Put my mare’s four-year-old filly into training recently. After four months and four bills, it has been decided that she will not make a racehorse. Need to look for a cheaper hobby.


Allan Chambers farms 270ha of medium stony loam at Tullynaskeagh Farm, Tullynaskeagh, Co Down, with brother David growing cereals, grass for haylage and maize

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