11 February 2000

Dont sit back and watch while your profits shrink

Growers and suppliers will

have to work together more

to make the most of

technical advances, says

Dalgety. Andrew Blake

reports on the companys

spring 2000 preview

RESIST the temptation to do nothing in the face of shrinking crop returns.

That was the firm message to growers from Dalgety arable marketing manager, Peter Corbett.

Speaking at Throws Farm near Dunmow, Essex, Mr Corbett said it was too easy to think little could be done to counter the current low prices. But continuing with present practices was not the way forward.

"For the first time ever, there is real concern among large, medium-sized and small farmers about how long we are going to be able to sustain the industry."

Fertiliser companies, breeders, agrochemical makers and suppliers are all making big moves to adjust to changing fortunes. "There is major restructuring and consolidation going on. Farmers will need to do likewise to survive," he said.

For growers who viewed the task as too daunting, he advised them to consider each area of production individually to discover where improvements could be made. His main concern was that the value of novel husbandries like precision farming need to be assessed on a suck-it-and-see basis.

"There is a lot of science out there which, unfortunately because of the state of the industry, we are not going to be able afford to research." Partnerships between commercial farms and suppliers would have to fill the gap, he suggested.

ARABLEPOINTERS

&#8226 More empirical field trials.

&#8226 Agronomists to lead precision.

&#8226 Spring crop area much reduced.

&#8226 Chemical costs down 25% in two years.

Detailed trials on the effects of sowing dates and drilling rates on individual wheat varieties should give growers a much better guide to later husbandry needs, says Dalgetys technical development manager Mike Jeffes seen here with the firms Peter Corbett and Bob Bulmer.