Cereals visit inspires Robert Law’s precision farming ambitions

I have just spent an excellent two days at Cereals and, this time, was able to get around most of the site knowing somebody else was the host.

Congratulations must go to the host David Knott and the event organiser, Haymarket, who made sure that everything went so smoothly. The selection of the site and meticulous traffic planning must have produced a Cereals event, which had the least access problems for years.

In previous years, the welcoming comments from people tended to be “how long did you queue for?”. This year, it was “how much rain have you had?”

So what thoughts have I come away with? A talk by Allan Wilkinson of HSBC at a breakfast meeting on the first morning is still at the forefront of my mind. Allan concentrated on the need to know the costs of production and costs control at every level of the farm business. He mentioned that, for this year’s harvest, HSBC had clients whose costs for producing a tonne of wheat ranged from £100 to £185. Allan also talked about the need to control your ego and not be overwhelmed by the volume of shiny paint around the stands outside.

The other area that grabbed my interest was “precision farming”. We have some parts of this technology already on the farms here, but my time at Cereals has spurred me on to take things further. With the cost of fuel at present levels the potential savings suggested make it essential that we adopt more of this technology.

I was asked to do a couple of radio interviews at the event. One was about the inevitable, drought; the other was much more thought provoking – about my carbon footprint and what measures I was taking on the farm to reduce it.

Farmer Focus Arable: Robert Law

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