By the time this issue reaches you, I will be an old man consigned to the scrap heap of life waiting for the future generations of farmers to come rushing past with their youthful enthusiasm. Apparently, 40 is the new 30, which must mean 30 is the new 20.

Unfortunately with age has not come wisdom; so rather than test prototype one of my bean drill in the middle of the farm away from prying eyes, I elected to try it right by the road. Luckily, it appears that despite getting onto prototype four in the same field, the rows are all emerging, so no one will notice.

As the nights draw in, it is nice to have some retail therapy to ease away the winter blues. But the price of combines is enough to turn my hair grey. With a new machine swiftly ruled out, my thoughts turned to ex-demo models, which then rapidly changed to secondhand. These are still frighteningly expensive for a machine that only works a few weeks of the year, yet we can’t do without them.

Having attended a talk regarding the Campaign for the Farmed Environment, my mind is turning to next year when my ELS agreement will end, and wondering what my options are. It is true that the bird population on the farm is increasing (I like to think it is my good husbandry), but so is the weed burden (nothing to do with me).

I appreciate that derogations can be sought, but there comes a point where it would be nice to be trusted to care for our land using our own skills. But I fear I might be grey before trust is restored between farmers, the public and the duck-house-wielding politicians.

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