Farmer Focus Arable: Neil Thomson’s political minefield

I have just returned from an entertaining hustings meeting in the local village hall. One candidate looked as if they had been tango’d. Another, well, on another planet.

The General Election is almost upon us and this constituency could have an influence on what our eventual government may be. So, for the first time in years, my vote counts. It was apparent at the meeting, that despite living in a rural area, the electorate here have no more concern for agriculture than urbanites. So how can we make sure the MP’s of rural areas keep the important issues in agriculture on their agendas?

Spring barley seed would have been better left in the bag for a few more days. Arctic conditions following the deluge that engulfed us not long after sowing has left a mess in some fields. Growth in all crops is almost non-existent, our wheat has not got hold of the nitrogen yet and a Berwickshire friend said his wheat was at least 10 days behind expectation. I would concur with him because we sprayed a week earlier last year.

As I write, a lack of grass has meant that there are few cattle turned out yet, and sheep farmers are counting the cost of those dreadful few days of rain and snow just at the start of lambing. The availability of straw is limited, sending prices through the roof, making you realise how desperate the need is for some farmers.

Tension in the Thomson household is mounting; our eldest daughter is about to sit her Standard Grade exams in the coming weeks. It is a sobering thought when you realise the importance of these exams for youngsters, and since it is the first time my wife and I have to endure this experience, any advice for an annoying father would be most welcome.

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