Farmer Focus Arable: Richard Beachell puts the brakes on drilling

The early end to harvest and the settled weather have meant that we have had to show a level of restraint to prevent the drilling programme from getting ahead of schedule.

TAG trials on the farm have proved that sowing wheat too early in September does not create extra yield but only increases costs as the weed, pest and disease burden is magnified.

Prairie farmers around us seem to have pressed on regardless of date to cover their large acreages, but it is only storing up problems if we have an open autumn.

Unfortunately this is the faceless side of farming as these agricultural oligarchs gobble up more and more contracted land as the disinterested*/ageing*/prefers the easy life* (*delete as applicable) farmer meekly allows this to happen.

My son, Thomas, has returned to school to take his A-Levels, studying, among other subjects, economics & business studies. He has already asked me why we are so hell- bent on sowing our crops when the supply/demand curve suggests that the end product is not needed.

I suppose I should be pleased that he is learning something, but I really have no answer to this except to say that the farmer in me takes over from the economist when the weather is fine. In my defence though, marketing of this crop has already started.

Both Nick, my neighbour, and I are determined that we do not go too far down the technology route through GPS steering or variable rate applications.

We are fortunate that our fields are consistent in size, shape & soil type but we are both of the opinion that when we are unable to press a button to turn off the machine on the headland or turn the steering wheel to follow a mark, only then is it probably time to chose one of the above options and take up golf.

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