Farmer Focus Arable: Richard Cobbald find online SPS forms a doddle

The Bateman is in the shed momentarily with the T1 sprays all done.

The crops look reasonable, but the wet summer and autumn is now very evident, with nearly every field having a thin patch or two. I think I am spending all my time worrying about a small percentage of the farm not being up to scratch, rather than focusing on the rest, which is good.

I recently used a wet day to complete my single farm payment application, which I chose to do online after several long chats with the guys at Farmplan. To be honest, I was terrified – me and anything to do with computers and government gateways seemed like a recipe for disaster. But in all honesty it was a doddle. Once you get the information from the gateway and add your own field names it is plain sailing.

I then thought it would be prudent to check all the other paperwork required for our cross compliance and ELS. All that seemed to be in order so should keep any inspectors at bay should they come knocking. What it does reveal to me is a massive mistrust of our industry by government. No farmer wants soil run off, compaction or capped, flooded land. Perhaps this is an area where Mr Brown could cut some civil service waste.

This agricultural year seems to be flying by, preparations for harvest are well underway, and with our usual South African contingent coming on board, let’s hope the Lions turn them over again in their backyard.

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