Farmer Focus Arable: Andrew Hunter is busy with potatoes

Spring has arrived and we are now busy planting potatoes in Hungary, more than two weeks ahead of last year. We have also completed the drilling of spring barley and have moved on to the Lucerne.

The fertilising has been going to plan apart from problems with snow in the Ukraine and a few wet patches in Serbia, due to work the water board are carring out on a new irrigation canal. We will have the most potatoes that we have grown this year with 170ha being planted including 20ha being grown on our behalf by another farmer.

Grain prices have continued to slide, fortunately we had most things sold before they really started to drop. The milk price is slowly increasing, with our latest negotiations getting up to around 23-24p and it looks like increasing further.

We have decided on the biogas plant and are working with an Austrian engineering office to modify the original planning permission and incorporate certain items that we have identified from our research that we would like to be included. My intention is to have the plant up and running by Christmas, therefore we really need to crack on over the next few months.

I have completed the purchasing of all the seed for Serbia and most of the seed for Hungary, the prices have come down a bit from last year and combined with the reduction in fertiliser prices should provide a better result even if the grain prices do not move in an upward direction.

I am just heading to Timisoara to meet up with a new assistant who is joining us to help out with the spring season in Serbia as James, who normally helps out at this time of year, is in training for a cycle race and does not fancy the flat plains of Serbia. I hope we can start planting maize here in Serbia in the next 10 days as the conditions are great at the moment with moisture and heat, Hungary will follow on about a week later.

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