Farmer Focus Arable: Edward Tupper on crop marketing

Edward Tupper farms 700ha (1730 acres) on the South Downs near Petworth and manages a further 112ha (277 acres) on contract. Crops include wheat, oilseed rape, barley, maize and grass for a 175-cow dairy

The farm this past month has been battered by wind and rain, which has not been pleasant. Catching up on office work has been the order of the day, albeit trying to sort out the new RPA maps which have duly arrived.

And, yes, there are mistakes and things missing, but I was expecting it. The planning of next year’s woodland management and scrub clearance plans have also been finalised, continuing the good work that the HLS scheme has allowed us to do. This will obviously help when it comes to satisfying the new voluntary code for farming and the environment scheme.

Sheep have arrived and are happily grazing the grass, which has grown amazingly these past few weeks with temperatures regularly getting into the low to mid teens. Newly sown grass leys will be grazed when conditions under foot allow, to encourage tillering and, hopefully, a bumper silage yield next spring.

Various quantities of milling wheat and malting barley have been leaving the farm. Barley boats seem very few and far between which has lengthened the delivery date somewhat. On the plus side, sweeping up the grain floors is not such a chore these days with the new shed, as the power-floated floor is a pleasure to sweep – so I am told!

Getting the marketing strategy right for next year could be a real challenge. I have done a bit already and that seems to have been a wise decision, with the way the markets seem to be at the moment. I wonder whether fund managers will come back into the commodities markets and lift prices back to where we all think they should be, so that arable farming can continue to be profitable?

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