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Lorenz von Schintling-Horny

23 August 2002

Lorenz von Schintling-Horny

Lorenz von Schintling-Horny

grows 550ha (1360 acres)

of cereals, osr and

sugar beet in partnership

with a neighbour in

Lower Saxony. A further

190ha (470 acres) is

farmed in Brandenburg,

north of Berlin in

partnership with his wife

WE are right in the middle of harvest, with three Lexion 460 combines on contract clearing our 80ha (200 acres) of rye on our tenanted farm in Brandenburg on Monday.

It will not make intervention so will only fetch about k70/t (£45/t) when dry. I estimate that we will harvest about 5t/ha (2t/acre), not enough to make a profit at that price.

In the end, we harvested 2.2t/ha (18 cwt/acre) of oilseed rape in Brandenburg, and have put in a 0.6t/ha (5cwt/acre) hail damage insurance claim following a storm on July 10. Prices for oilseed rape are good at k225/t (£144/t).

I have to decide very soon whether to give up this farm, or whether to turn to organic farming, replacing the risk of production with the risk of state subsidies.

Knowing our politicians, that is not an easy decision. The land in Brandenburg is marginal land and needs a supportive agricultural policy in these uncertain times.

Here in Liebenburg, we are harvesting the last 65ha (160 acres) of wheat with our own and another Lexion 460.

All the wheat is flat as a pancake and yields are very poor by our standards, at 7.5-8t/ha (3-3.2t/acre). That is about 15% less than the five-year average yield and only about 40% will make milling quality. In general the specific weights are very low at 73-76 kg/hl, protein levels are very high, and Hagberg falling numbers are low for most varieties. Ritmo, Drifter and Biscay retained their quality longest.

My farm results are very typical for Germany. Milling wheat will certainly gain a premium price and there will be a lot of fodder wheat around. Nationally we expect 10-15 % less yield than last year but that will not lead to a shortage anywhere.

However, I shouldnt moan. Along the Danube and Elbe there is great damage to people, houses, harbour stores, as well as crops. Some farmers will not be able to harvest their fields at all. Worse still, we could be in Zimbabwe. &#42

Low prices, poor yields, and poor quality. Should we give up the tenancy on one of our farms, asks Lorenz von Schintling-Horny.

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Lorenz von Schintling-Horny

24 July 2002

Lorenz von Schintling-Horny

Lorenz von Schintling-Horny

grows 550ha (1360 acres)

of cereals, osr and

sugar beet in partnership

with a neighbour in

Lower Saxony. A further

190ha (470 acres) is

farmed in Brandenburg,

north of Berlin in

partnership with his wife

FOUR weeks ago I was a very happy farmer. I was proud of my fields and looked forward to an easy and good harvest.

Now, wind, hail and rain has changed all that. Not even 1% of my oilseed rape, rye or wheat is still standing. A storm on July 10 caused much damage in Berlin as well as in the fields.

Our oilseed rape, which was already ripe, lodged and 20% of the seed shed. Now it looks black due to verticilium, sclerotinia and phoma. Yields will be at least 1t/ha less than expected at about 2t/ha (16 cwt/acre).

Winter barley yields are 2.5t/ha (1t/acre), about 25%, lower than last year. Take-all, eyespot and a new sort of "second barley yellow dwarf virus" have exacerbated inadequate rooting due to later than normal drilling. Added to that it is only worth k80/t ex farm.

To add to the woes, last week we had 110mm (4.3in) of rain in one day. Records say the last time that happened was in 1882. We have now had another 40mm (1.6in) and many rivers have flooded. Several hundred hectares of my wheat are under water and a total of 100,000ha of wheat is in a similar plight.

On my farm, all the wheat has lodged. As it is still three weeks to harvest there is no hope of having milling quality and I reckon we will lose 20% on last years yields. Indeed, I will be relieved if I harvest it at all because it is totally flat.

Normally my Lexion 460 copes with my 300ha wheat crop but I have decided to hire another from the maize region in north-west Germany, costing us k60/ha before labour and fuel.

Hopefully it will allow us to clear what will surely be the worst harvest of my agricultural career. Not only are prices poor, but now we face a horrendous harvest too. We will have to tighten our belts sharply in order to get through these difficult times. &#42

Barley is only worth the equivalent of £52/t ex farm and now we face a horrendous harvest, says Lorenz von Schintling-Horny.

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Lorenz von Schintling-Horny

3 May 2002

Lorenz von Schintling-Horny

Lorenz von Schintling-Horny

grows 550ha (1360 acres)

of cereals, osr and

sugar beet in partnership

with a neighbour in

Lower Saxony. A further

190ha (470 acres) is

farmed in Brandenburg,

north of Berlin in

partnership with his wife

SUGAR beet was drilled in a week, starting Easter Monday and finishing our 163ha (400 acre) crop by Friday evening. It rarely goes that well or that early in our part of the world. A cold and windy spell, with frost down to -4C, followed but then 50mm (2in) of rain and warmer weather produced ideal emergence conditions. Everything looks well now. Part of the crop was direct drilled into a mulch of sprayed off mustard, part into autumn ploughed land. The latter has had pre-emergence metamitron at 1 litre/ha. Due to the strong winds fertiliser, 80kg/ha of nitrogen, was applied as liquid rather than solid.

In late March cereal crops were a fortnight ahead of last year but the cold dry weather in April changed all that, stopping growth and nitrogen uptake. With crops already past tillering and into stem elongation we saw a great reduction in tiller numbers. Some advisers suggested applying micro nutrients to counter the standstill but I did not follow that theory. Plants will quickly grow on as soon as it gets warm and wet, which it is sure to in our part of Germany.

Due to the cold weather crops have hardly any disease and no fungicides have been applied yet. When necessary second wheats such as Biscay and Ritmo will get 0.6 litres/ha of Juwel Forte (kresoxim-methyl + epoxiconazole + quinoxyfen) while Convent and Drifter will get 0.4 litres/ha of Juwel Top (kresoxim-methyl + epoxiconazole + fenpropimorph), combined with 0.2-0.3 litres/ha of Moddus (trinexapac-ethyl) and 0.8-1.0 litres/ha of chlormequat.

Wheat prices fell considerably a fortnight ago, to k114/t (£71/t). That price exists on paper only as no one is selling. Two private merchant companies seem to be in great difficulties and the market is in a shambles. Intervention stores are filling up rapidly. New crop wheat is worth k102/t ex-farm for milling and barley k95/t. Wheat and barley prices have not been that close for years. Lets all pray for a high dollar in the coming year. &#42

Grain prices have plummeted in Germany too, not that anyone is selling, says Lorenz von Schintling-Horny (right).

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