Andrew Hunter looks at a successful Serbian harvest

Andrew Hunter is MD for the UK-owned Magyar Farming Co, which in Hungary grows 3000ha (7400 acres) of combinable crops and potatoes, has 900 dairy cows and runs a potato packing business. It also farms in Serbia and the Ukraine.

Our Serbian wheat harvest is finishing, averaging just under 5t/ha, and we have completed spring barley in Hungary with a similar result. But, unfortunately it hasn’t made malting quality.

Thunderstorms have been disrupting combining, and weeds are starting to grow in the bottom of the remaining wheat. But at least irrigation pressure has eased.

Unfortunately we haven’t been able to harvest in the Ukraine, a big concern, as we have bought two new Challenger combines through the country’s AGCO dealer.

They were delivered on 26 June, but many parts were missing, including essential little items – like the reels.

After a lot of “discussions” the dealer successfully ordered the parts from the USA on 7 July, with a date to air freight them on 16 July hoping to get them to the farm about 24 July. It all depends on how successful they are on the importing.

Due to this “great” back-up, we had some more “discussions” and the dealer lent us three second-hand combines to help out. All broke down before getting to the field.

Having bought a BISO header in France on 16 July, we’re now trying to fit it to one of the Challengers.

The builders are making good progress with the new potato building and workshop. They’ve also started work on the cubicle shed.

The strength of the Hungarian forint has caused us some problems over the past few months. It has risen by about 15%, for no apparent reason the country’s economic situation definitely doesn’t justify it.

This has had the effect of severely reducing grain prices when most of our costs for inputs were incurred in forints at a very different exchange rate.

These unexpected currency movements will have a bigger effect on our profitability than any farming decision.

See more