In these winter months, farming isn’t that stimulating. A lot of rain, cold and windy weather – in one word: boring. In these boring days I have much time to think about this year’s cropping and clean up my desk. In early December we finished grading the seed potatoes – a lot of them are still in the cooling shed, waiting to be exported. The quality is very good this year, and my farming colleagues have also seen good quality.

The potato seed export market is currently very quiet. It should pick up in the spring again. We also managed to move some of the brown onions, with some going to Brazil and the rest supplying national supermarkets. After finishing we cleaned the boxes and filled them with our own seed potatoes, ready for planting time. We also store seed for several neighbours.

The sugar beet campaign is nearing the end, with the Netherlands Suiker Unie having processed about 950,000t of sugar beet. However, the wet weather means we still have about 100ha in the ground. Our sugar content is averaging 16%, while nationally it is closer to 13.5%.

The wet weather has also meant that the plough is still waiting in the barn to get out. Hopefully, we will make a start as the weather turns colder. When there is continuous frost, the whole nation waits for a possible “elfstedentocht” (11-city tour). It is a skating tour of 11 cities in Friesland and only occurs when the natural ice along the entire course is at least 15cm thick – this doesn’t happen every year. I hope it doesn’t happen until February, after I have finished the ploughing.

In the meantime, I will continue catching up on the paperwork, chasing the grazing geese from our winter wheat, checking Facebook and finishing preparations for my Global Gap certification audit at the end of this month.

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