Farmer Focus Arable: Bird nests thwarts banger, laments Martin Lawrenson

Autumn has arrived with a vengeance, with gales and heavy rain sweeping through. For the first time in weeks our fieldwork has been brought to a halt.


I knew it was too good to last as carrot harvesting had been continuing nicely and almost all the potatoes are tucked up in store apart from a few Melody that we had thought of selling off the field.

Alchemy wheat has been drilled after potatoes, going into reasonably good seed-beds, although it hasn’t emerged yet.

Winter barley has emerged and looks as good as we have seen for the last few years. Unfortunately though, the migrating geese have found it and seem to be quite partial to some new juicy shoots. I decided I would have to get out our neighbours’ favourite piece of kit – the bird banger.

It had been put in the back of the workshop after we finished with it, and after I rooted it out I decided to give it a try to check it was still working.

As usual with things like this the gas had run out and the battery was knackered and a trip into town was required. On my return I coupled up, switched on and stood well back. As the machine ticked to indicate firing there was a muffled pop and a bird’s nest flew out of the end. “Should have checked that,” I thought to myself. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get it to work since.

I must thank Farmers Weekly for the invitation to the Awards in London last month. It was a very entertaining evening with good company, showcasing the best in British farming. It was a bit like a very swanky young farmers’ party except most of the farmers were old and there wasn’t quite as much drunkenness.

To read more from Martin Lawrenson click here, or see what our other farmer focus arable writers are saying.