Common sense must prevail in CAP reform, says Andrew Blenkiron

Well, I didn’t expect the subsoiler/Minimat drill oilseed rape establishment trial to show results so quickly, but it has. As a result of a good stiff breeze sandblasting its way through 20ha of newly germinated Minimat-established Compass rape, it’s a case of subsolier one, Minimat nil.

Amazing how the price of rapeseed appears to increase as the autumn progresses, especially when they know what you want it for. Or is that what they call the law of supply and demand?

With that rejuvenated field of Claire winter wheat now safely gathered in and having yielded surprisingly well, the next challenge facing farm manager Matthew Hawthorne and his team is not only to get cereals planted in a timely fashion, but dig all 15,000t plus of sugar beet before the onset of those harsh winter frosts that did so much damage last season.

The shorter autumn days will also start to focus our minds on other issues besides working the land. For many, CAP reform and associated “leaks” will create much debate – a substantial part of our income yet again in the hands of politicians.

Rather than specifics, I would tend to be more concerned about what 11th-hour deal will seal our fate. How complex can they make it this time? In addition, how long will it take DEFRA and its agencies to sort out a system to administer it all?

Given that we are in an age of austerity, attempting to cut red tape and more importantly wanting to feed an ever increasing population, maybe there is a real requirement for farmer common sense to be involved in the whole process. Wouldn’t you just love to get your hands on it?






Arable Farmer Focus: Andrew Blenkiron

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