Something that readers often say is that would like to see more comments from farmers in Farmers Weekly who are having a horrible harvest, aren’t getting record yields and have just suffered their 3rd breakdown… ie someone who is having a harvest that feels a bit like your own!
It is something that we’ve always agreed we’d like to do – because we know it isn’t all sunshine and roses and in fact it it is pretty irritating to read about Fred Bloggs having finished his wheat when you’ve not yet started on your winter barley! [:D]
That said, it can often be difficult to get people to admit to the problems. They want to read about other people’s disasters, but are not so prepared to admit to their own!
So here is my challenge..who is prepared to admit to something (from this season’s harvest) which might make your fellow farmers breath a sigh of relief….?
Not true, but we dont want to hear the usual “yield lies” in print. Please make sure that your farmer contributers have actual clean and dry yields, not what their combine said in that bit. We also want those who state their rotation as “wheat, rape and some spring beans” to tell the truth – that the spring beans are to replace bits of rape that have failed.
I will admit to selling 100t of full spec Soissons wheat at a 6 premium, just before everyone realised a) harvest was going to be late and b) there wasnt any wheat about.
Rule One Never be the first to mention a yield figure, wait for someone else and then add 10%.
Rule Two If subsequently someone mentions a yield figure 10% higher than yours point out that you were talking about your worst field which was actually a crop failure.
Rule Three For those who persistently cite yield figures higher than yours remind them of the foolishness of talking the market down with their wild fishermans tales of harvest gluts*.
Rule Four When citing yields always use tonnes/hectare to two or three decimal places even if you actually just roughly counted the trailer loads to the nearest two or three.
Rule Five When calculating yields always exclude the poorer yielding areas of the field as unrepresentative.
Rule Six When a neighbouring farmer comes into the pub quickly establish that you have just recently been talking to his wife** who happened to mention his foul and curmudgeonly reaction when she asked whether yields were good enough this year to afford the new bathroom.
Rule Seven Remember combine yield meters work on crop volume multiplied by crop kilo-weight, so use the following density coefficients when programming: Wheat – as wet sand. Barley as dry sand. Oil seed rape as crushed limestone. Similarly crop yields can be dramatically increased if, where it says header width, you use the header width of the first combine you ever drove***
Rule Eight When calculating crop area for the purposes of determining overall field yields never use O.S. or old IACS acreages which we now know were wild exaggerations (as often are drilled hectares). Instead use data given to contractors, also remember to allow for un-cropped areas such as tramlines which can easily account for 10% of a field.
Rule Nine To improve your green credentials when calculating a fields crop area always exclude the outer 10m of the field as a conservation margin even if actually you did combine as close to the edge as possible with quite a bit of the hedge ending up in the tank.
Rule Ten Just as the barmaid becomes more attractive the longer you spend in the pub so to do harvest yields increase.
* Please remember most pubs are frequented by spies working for the international grain trade for the purposes of establishing global harvest figures from overheard conversations among farmers. Old KGB agents are similarly placed by the Russian government to garner market intelligence as to whether they should bring in grain export restrictions.
** For young unmarried farmers there are other mechanisms that can be used, for instance you could mention that for some reason Young farmer Xs girlfriend thinks that Smartie tubes are nine inches long.
*** Very young farmers are recommended to use forage harvester specs.