Steve Bumstead farms
148ha (365 acre) from
Ouse Bank Farm, Great
Barford, Beds. He is a first
generation farmer and
council tenant, growing
combinable crops on three
blocks of land. He supports
LEAF and is the FWAG
WE have no barley this year so havent started harvest yet. However, we hope to have a go at Malacca winter wheat next week.
I have to grit my teeth when I think of the optimum nitrogen rate for this variety. A few weeks ago I thought my five fields looked of only average potential. So I took an executive decision not to apply more than a total of 210kg/ha (172 units/acre) of ammonium nitrate.
In hindsight I wish I had gone with an extra 34kg/ha (28 units/acre). Option, which was much more pleasing to the eye, and some scruffy looking Xi19, did get this extra dollop. The result of this learned self-administered advice will be revealed soon enough.
A few weeks ago we had, and passed, our yearly ACCS inspection. All of the markets that I sell into demand it but I remain unconvinced of its value to the consumer, especially as my assured wheat will no doubt be blended with imported non-assured grain from an unknown source before reaching retail shelves.
The grain trade is convinced we are on the threshold of a massive wheat harvest. Fair enough, and I hope my harvest is huge too. But what gets my goat is that they have the audacity to chastise farmers for creating this big heap, a heap which presents them with a great opportunity to earn as much money as their trading ability allows.
Their marketing margin has not dropped in unison with ex-farm prices. Is it any wonder they are desperately clinging on to the grossly one-sided UKASTA no 1 contract? All I ask is that they show a bit more enthusiasm about the business. They should at least try to emulate the enthusiasm of the Bavarian sports saloon salesmen who will no doubt ultimately benefit from their increased turnover.
There is a lot of talk of a "15t/ha club". How do I join? Only being able to produce a paltry 10t/ha (4t/acre) at best does that mean I am an under achiever? *
A big wheat crop means a big marketing opportunity for the trade, so why dont they show some enthusiasm, says Stephen Bumstead.