AFTER A friend phoned to remind me that next year will be 30 years since we started at Harper Adams together, I was put in a reflective mood for my final Farmer Focus article.
I have fond memories of my time at Harper, it certainly convinced a sceptical schoolboy that agriculture was my destiny. At the time I was more interested in big, shiny equipment and how to grow 10t/ha of wheat, than the dairy enterprise that forms the core of our business today.
We all believed the industry was over-regulated then, if only we knew what was to come, we probably all would have emigrated.
The 1980s and 90s were an exciting time: Yields rose rapidly in most enterprises and Continental beef breeds were becoming established, alongside new intensive feeding systems.
Holsteins made their first appearance on our farm in the 1980s, followed by the introduction of maize and complete diets which really got us enthused about cows.
It”s no wonder farmers become disillusioned when the challenges that face us today revolve around how to get 30 points/ha for the Entry Level Scheme.
We must accept that changes will keep coming at us thick and fast. This week we had our first NVZ inspection by two nice ladies from the Environment Agency. What additional inspections we may face in relation to Single Farm Payments I dread to think. On top of these challenges we must convince our customers we are delivering the most assured, welfare-friendly food available.
Back in the present, we are led to believe our March milk cheque will show a significant price rise. Congratulations to Farmers for Action, the Arla milk partnership and everyone else who has made this happen.
Let”s hope it is sustained and all dairy producers see increased prices in the near future.