Combining has started for Andrew Blenkiron

Some things never change. That certainly seemed to be the conclusion of the early hours finish to the Harper Adams reunion the other weekend – same old wit, same old stories and same old people left at the bar.

The same certainly cannot be said for the venue – what an amazing place. Full credit to all of those who have been involved in driving its development forward; that’s not just the teaching and student facilities on the campus, but also out on the farm.

Some of those present struggled to recognise the old Harper Adams College, which only goes to emphasise that all of the new infrastructure combined with teaching excellence will ensure that the upgrade to full university status will be a foregone conclusion. Some commented that if it does happen, they will be able to say that we all went to a university; not sure what difference that will make after all this time.

Back at Euston, with the combine eventually moving on through the barley, with straw, hay and silage all to bale as well as oilseed rape and wheat nearing harvest, the big rush has definitely now arrived.

Thankfully, all of the rape can now go into the biodiesel market after being certified as eligible by the Red Tractor scheme. Something that had frustrated me immensely in the past was the fact that we had to sign yet another piece of paper to say that it was sustainable. We hadn’t ripped up masses of land to grow XX, plus the possibility of yet another audit never made any sense to me, so I am pleased to see that at long last EU certification has been awarded.

From what I hear, lots of background work appears to be going on the CAP reform. Let’s hope that the message is continuing to be made clear. For the time being I hope that everyone has lots of wheat left to sell at these very respectable prices.

Andrew Blenkiron manages the 4,400ha Euston Estate, south of Thetford. Principal farm enterprises are combinable and root crops, including sugar beet. In addition the estate supports let land, sheep, outdoor pigs, poultry, suckler cows, horses and stewardship

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