Farmer Focus: A naked visitor in the oilseed rape crop

We had a bit of entertainment here shortly after my last article when a “lady” was spotted prancing around naked in one of my fields of oilseed rape. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I didn’t see her but my neighbour did while returning from checking some cattle on his quad bike.

He is recovering slowly and has promised to fix the hole in my hedge. The crop was in full flower at the time and full of bees, so I hope she didn’t receive a “love bite” in a delicate place as a result of disturbing them at work. I await the agronomy report with interest.

The show season has started again with our Balmoral Show, which last year moved to new much larger premises outside Belfast. I was there over two days and was very impressed with the whole set up.

It must be very reassuring for the organisers to see the show so well supported by both exhibitors and the general public after such a big move from its long-standing premises in Belfast.

Congratulations to all concerned and may the show go from strength to strength as it is so important for our industry to connect with our customers.

I attended the traditional breakfast meeting hosted by our Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, which was also attended by numerous politicians, all keen to tell us how wonderful we all were and how important our industry is to the economy.

Such a pity then that they seem unable to agree on how to support the industry financially by actually taking decisions and acting on the recommendations of the Agrifood Strategy Report that was presented to them at the show last year.

Back on the farm, I always love this time of year. Long evenings and the 40 shades of green in the countryside. Crops are growing nicely, with oilseed rape and Volume barley looking particularly well.

Spring barley is still lagging somewhat behind though. I have always found it a difficult crop to grow successfully here, but I suspect location, climate and soil type has a lot to do with it.

Robert Moore farms 160ha of arable land at Molenan Estate just south of Londonderry in Northern Ireland. His family have farmed the land for more than 200 years and he currently grows wheat, barley, oats and OSR. He still has a small suckler herd on non-suitable arable land