2 November 2001

Second wheats out as Coneygar changes tack

SPRING barley area will be increased and spring beans introduced at Coneygar Farm in the New Year, eliminating second wheat from the rotation.

"The new seed dressings have been a disappointment. Second wheat still did less than 2.5t/acre," says Mr Morris.

That yield is the target for spring barley, but last summer it too fell short on both yield and quality. "It looked fantastic to the end of June when it started to whither and die. Then it put up secondary green tillers."

That, or perhaps rain in the first week of August, has hampered quality which appeared good at harvest, presenting a marketing dilemma.

"Some of it is over 1.9% nitrogen and germination is 96% or less. The merchant has asked me to decide whether to down-grade it here to feed, which is worth £64-£65/t, or risk moving it to Southampton where it will only be worth £58/t if it fails but £80/t if it passes."

One load will be moved and if that passes more will follow, with Mr Morriss fingers firmly crossed.

Contract farmed wheat was also moving during the week but not his own. "I am holding on, for better or for worse, but the Commission seems determined to drive the price down.

"At times like this there is not enough talk about the importance of a strong home food production industry. People need to realise mobile phones are not the most important thing in the economy.

"Surpluses may not be fashionable but if we go short of food the public really wont like it. That is why we have to have subsidies." &#42