Richard Beachell farms in a joint venture with his neighbour at Bainton near Driffield, East Yorks. The 380ha block is a medium to heavy Wold soil growing milling wheat, malting barley, oilseed rape & vining peas for Birds Eye.

With my rent review finalised for three years, though at a level slightly higher than I am comfortable with, I must ensure the farm’s productive capacity is maximised.

Good crop management and a lot of luck from the weather will determine how successful we will be.

But for some time our crop marketing skills have been severely tested. The past year’s highs and lows have shown they could be better, as it is nigh impossible to predict such market fluctuations.

The usual strategy of selling 25% of the crop forward turned into almost a third due to lower than anticipated yields – and some of that at prices that now look quite poor.

Marketing crops while sat in the office on a wet day is not always best, and fine days are usually spent on a tractor too busy to keep an eye on the market.

We have been examining the choices available and a radical change in strategy has been adopted.

A marketing manager will now carry out our selling on a rolling two-year contract.

Armed with our tonnages and cash flow requirements he should, hopefully, make more informed judgements on our behalf with access to all market information.

This will leave us to concentrate on what we know best – growing the crop.

Our wheats should be about to receive T1 applications of Proline (prothioconazole) + Bravo (chlorothalonil) at full leaf 3 emergence, and winter barley, with little disease, has received a chlormequat + Jaunt (fluoxystrobin + prothioconazole + trifloxystrobin) mix at GS31.

As usual, I expect the oilseed rape, apart from the TAG trials, will receive no fungicide as disease has been non-existent, and being Castille it does not require growth regulation.

The vining peas are due to be drilled soon, but warmth and sunshine are needed.

richard.hmbltd@btinternet.com