FARMER FOCUS: All crops off to a flying start

First, I would like to thank all of you who sent me pictures of great crested newts following my last piece, much appreciated.

Now I will be in no doubt of what to catch if and when we get a DEFRA licence to perform such a task.

With such an open autumn, not only have my smooth-coated little pals continued to be active, but thankfully the crops have also received a first-rate start,

Oilseed rape has romped ahead, cereals have germinated and flown out of the ground and we are more than thankful for the boost to the sugar beet bulk and sugar content.

No doubt all of this will soon come to a dramatic end. Indeed, there has now been enough moisture to make travelling on our dry Breckland soils a bit sticky, so I hate to think what lifting beet is going to be like on some of the heavier land.

Typically, Anglian Water has just got around to starting to lay a 9.5km water pipeline diagonally across the estate and guess what? They have to get at least 2km of it completed between my smooth-coated little pals going to sleep in the autumn and waking up in the spring.

This is not the same dynasty as the reservoir site, just another four little ponds containing yet more of these incredibly rare species.I’ll bet there aren’t many down the HS2 rail route to interfere with its progress, or maybe that’s why the price has just had to increase by £10 billion to account for providing palatial new habitats for my pals.

Oh to be a newt. Not only are my mates a blight on the pipeline, but the poor old contractors charged with the task of laying a simple bit of pipe have to complete the task before the stone curlews return from their winter break to nest for another season in March.

These are more of my associates and, as it happens, another very rare European protected species, which happen to be relatively common around here. All of this before we even start with the planners. Who in their right mind would actually ever want to try and build anything in this country?

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

More on this topic

Read more from Andrew Blenkiron

Read more from all our Farmer Focus writers

Need a contractor?

Find one now
See more