FARMER FOCUS: Allan Chambers signs off with record

My first ever Farmer Focus piece appeared in September 2006 and in that year, Enstine wheat fetched £85/t and 1kg of active nitrogen cost me 51p.

Seven years later and that wheat is now worth £170/t while the nitrogen to grow it cost 84p. The ratio is in our favour, but the yields have only improved marginally, which means we are not going far.

Farming our own land has left some cash available for reinvestment, but I could not cope with an annual rental. I admire those who do.

Forage maize has been harvested and delivered to our customers. We had our best ever crop yielding 42.5t/ha fresh weight at about 30% dry matter.

The crop was forward sold at a fair price which means that our spring drilled break has topped the crop margins for the first time ever. Harvest started at 7am on Monday 28 October and by Wednesday lunchtime, the following wheat crop had been drilled.

If every young man in the UK had the same work ethic as the four lads who did this, we would be the richest country in the world.

I have been critical of civil servants over the years, but next week I will be joining their ranks, albeit loosely.

I applied for and gained a post on the Agricultural Colleges Advisory Group. I get paid, so technically, I am now “one of them”. Can’t wait! No, seriously I am really looking forward to the challenge, particularly as I believe today’s youngsters are full of promise.

You won’t be surprised this is my final article when you read the latest mistake of the month.

I half filled the dump trailer with leaves from round our home, and then parked it up.

Two weeks later, I needed a load of hand-gathered field stones for a new garden wall and yes I did it.

Forgot about the leaves, filled the trailer with the loading shovel and then tipped the mixture back where the leaves had been lifted from. What a mess!

The best of luck and good farming to all.

Allan Chambers farms 270ha of medium stony loam at Tullynaskeagh, Co Down, with his nephew, growing cereals and maize

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