Farmer Focus Arable: David Shepherdson plots new ELS points options

The new hedge-cutter arrived a few weeks ago just in time to finish off the season.


After much deliberation, I decided to go for another Twose, as the last one had served me well for five trouble-free years.

The most noticeable difference in this updated machine is the proportional joystick, which makes for an easier time for the operator. It’s now all washed down and put away so I’ll have to wait for the grass verges to start to grow before I can get it out again.

The weather is still delaying us getting out onto the land. I don’t think many of us can remember such a prolonged period of wet weather. We have not been able to get into the fields since mid-November apart from salvaging some fodder beet while the ground was frozen.

The rest of the beet, like many others’ here, is still stuck in the field waiting for it to dry out enough to travel on the land. We plan to lift sufficient to keep the sheep fed until lambing time and then the rest will get disced in.

The sprayer is due its annual test before being put to work. Everything will shortly need its first dose of liquid nitrogen and sulphur. Fortunately, with the oilseed rape being so far forward, there’s been no rush to get on and make a mess of the tramlines. We’ll also need to check the wheat for blackgrass once the weather warms up.

Our Entry Level Stewardship agreement ends this year and we hope to sign up again. We are waiting for new handbook to explore options. For once, our small fields have proved advantageous as they are surrounded by miles of hedges which got us most of our points last time. And as the saying goes “points mean prizes.”

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