Farmer Focus Arable: Spring has arrived in Hungary for Andrew Hunter

It finally looks like spring has arrived, the snow that has been around for most of the last two months has melted and in Hungary we have had temperatures up to 12C.

While the land was frozen, we were able to get nearly all of the phosphate and potash spread on the land for potatoes this year, therefore not doing any damage to the soil structure. We have also spread phosphate in Serbia on some of the land earmarked for grain maize.

We have bought most of the nitrogen requirements for Hungary and Serbia before the prices started rising. Seed prices for the spring appear to be falling, last year it was cheap by the time we were drilling.

We are moving potatoes to our supermarket customer, but the price is not moving up. On the grain side, we have been selling in all three countries, although the prices seem to be under downward pressure with buyers difficult to find.

I have been making some progress on our Biogas plant and am now choosing between two German companies to supply the technology – a local building company will do the rest.

The milk price has been slowly moving in the right direction, which makes cashflow a lot easier, although we are still waiting for large amounts of subsidy from the government in relation to the countryside stewardship programme and the building projects that we completed last year. We have been getting on with a lot of machinery maintenance in all three countries and feel we are in a better position for the time of year than we have been for a number of years.

Ryan is having to amuse himself by GPS mapping about 70 fields for the new stewardship scheme. This will result in three different areas for the same field – one according to the land registry, one from the Ministry of Agriculture according to the satellite imagery and a GPS measurement – all of which are apparently correct.

I hope the newspaper articles talking about the reduction in wheat area for the coming harvest are true – it offers hope for a better year.

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