You do forget when on your own little oasis in the land of milk and honey how many people there are in this country. It was just very unfortunate to be sat next to most of them on the M25 over Christmas. To describe the traffic as horrendous would be playing it down. The whole of London seemed to be trying to escape and ended up creating a seven hour journey, of which even Dr Zhivago would have been proud.
While on this adventure it seemed an apt time to do some window farming and see how the rest of the country was faring. Wet would be as good an adjective to use as any, and quite where the reports are coming from saying we are nearly drilled up is anyone’s educated (or not so educated) guess.
Interestingly, if you average our rainfall from 2011 and 2012 across the two years we are actually 7mm below average per year. Although the local old boys say that last time we had rain like in 2012, snow fell at the end of January and did not thaw until the beginning of May. I just hope that their memories are addled from overdoing the Grouse, and not in the field sport sense.
All thoughts of new shiny Tier 69, emission-free tractors have been shelved, as has the Baldrick-esque cunning plan to have various seed drills to suit every different soil type and weather pattern in favour of an enlarged budget for diggers and land drains.
I admit this is not exactly the masculinity measuring material to make the neighbours green with envy, but slightly more fundamental to producing food for the urban masses crawling slowly around the hamster wheel that is the planet’s largest car park.
Will Howe farms 384ha of medium to heavy land at Ewerby Thorpe Farm, near Sleaford, Lincolnshire, growing wheat, oilseed rape and winter beans
Read more from Will Howe
Read more from our arable Farmer Focus writers