Andrew Blenkiron buys forage harvester

Our Single Farm Payment hit the bank late in 2010 and, as a result, our big machinery purchase of the year has been made. I managed to find a 40-year-old Kidd double-chop forage harvester that I had been hunting for.

It’s one of the best pieces of kit we have on the farm at the moment. Now we can get some of that forage rape from field to cow and help stretch silage stocks.

The harvester is helping me out of a sticky situation, allowing the milk to keep flowing. But the word has got round about my spending spree and the local dealers have been queuing up to make their next big sale.

After, hopefully, the worst of the winter weather, crops look exceptionally well. But I am slightly concerned that some of the early drilled wheat looks just a bit too tasty. No doubt it will slow down again soon.

The dilemma now after moving the pigs is whether we should plant more winter wheat or move on to a spring variety. The swap-over date last year was 2 February and I have to say that the winter variety yielded much better than the spring one sown in March. So if conditions allow, we will go with the same again.

This reminds me of a college visit in the dim and distant past when a well-respected and exceptionally good farmer told the group that he always drilled his spring barley a week before he heard the first cuckoo. Given that we were Harper boys, we all caught on straight away.

It has been relatively quiet on pigeon patrol and within the next week reinforcements will arrive and all guns will acquire new targets. Saturday afternoons won’t be the same again, until the oilseed rape is in flower.

Farmer Focus arable: Andrew Blenkiron

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