Farmer Focus: Bad weather makes harvest hard for Bill Davey

We’re well over half way through harvest, and gale force winds and a demo of the Great White Harvester have made life interesting.

Fortunately we missed the worst of the hail, but some farms within 4km of here lost 80% of their crops.

It’s the first year I’ve opted not to insure against hail as we’ve paid high premiums year on year without claim. Perhaps I’m pushing my luck.

Our Lexion 580+, new last season, has had main rotor bearings replaced which disappoints me as the same thing happened to our old 580 after two seasons.

A new modified bearing assembly has been supplied by Claas but not before time. Full marks to Nigel Barker of Marsh’s Ulceby Cross depot in Lincolnshire for working on well into the night to get us up and running again.

“What on earth did that cost?” I hear you ask. This was his fourth time here working for Claas agent Landpower of Ashburton during harvest. Thanks again, Nigel.

Dairy farmers are bracing themselves for an expected drop in the price for milk solids from almost $8 last season to about $5.

The continuing decline in international commodity prices and the impact of the global financial crisis are mainly to blame. Each 1c payout cut reduces national dairy farmers’ income by $12m, so it’s serious stuff.

If that’s not bad enough news they then hear that EU agriculture commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel plans to heavily subsidise the trading bloc’s dairy exports, so there may be rough seas ahead.

As the battle continues to access groundwater for irrigation and with rivers heavily in flood we’re hoping our new government supports water storage schemes.

As someone recently said: “It’s not Canterbury running out of water that hurts – it’s the water running out of Canterbury.”

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