Stewart Hayllor farms
400ha (1000 acres) as a
family partnership from
Combinable arable crops
are complemented by 32ha
(80 acres) or organic
vegetables, 180 dairy cows and contracting work
FRANZ Fischlers mid-term review includes some radical thinking on how agricultural support may work. At least he acknowledges that farming cannot be tied down by bureaucratic and environmental restraints without some form of compensation.
The idea of a single payment per farm with much less red tape sounds good but basing it on past claims could disadvantage expanding farms. Proposals that modulation money can go to any country at the discretion of the EU are alarming. In my opinion it should be used in the country of origin. Otherwise, the UK could well lose out, as usual!
Our own crops are still a few days from harvest but the combine has had a run out on a neighbours winter barley for crimping. Hopefully the weather then is not a sign of things to come – we started in sunshine, struggled through showers, and finished in heavy rain.
Spring crops have made the most of the weather, looking very good all season. Organic Chablis spring wheat has been very pleasing to grow with disease levels far lower than our conventionally treated winter wheat. Ill stick my neck out and predict 7t/ha (2.8t/acre) from the best looking field, and I promise Ill own up to the actual yield come harvest.
Ample rain has encouraged good growth in our organic potatoes, which are bulking up well. However, it has also sustained a level of blight in some parts that is cause for concern. Drier sunny weather is whats called for.
At a recent organic potato and farm open day in Cornwall I picked up some useful points on varieties and pest and weed control. Always on the lookout for new control measures for potato blight a citrus-extract-based product, said to be a plant growth promoter, caught my interest so I had a chat with the sales rep. He promptly produced a couple of trial bottles from the boot of his brand new Mercedes. Maybe there are easier ways to make money than by growing crops. *
Stewart Hayllor has started harvest in Devon, but only with a neighbours barley for crimping so far.