Farmer Focus: Bill Davey still has wheat to drill

We had 2in of driving rain over the weekend and it was -4C this morning. But lambs that were shorn only last week are coping well thanks to our covered yards and surrounding pine shelter belts.

I hate shearing store lambs in mid-winter but the longer they are left in full wool the more condition they lose.

With quite a proportion of the farm being autumn-sown with grasses for seed production this coming season we face that recurring problem of balancing stock numbers to suit the feed available before closing up these crops in early October.

With the lamb price rising rapidly, given that there is a shortage here in general, we have decided to buy in forward stores now. Although they’re relatively expensive, they’ll graze these grasses and should leave us with killable lambs come October, rather than unfinished ones which we would have to move on at a lesser margin.

We still have wheat to drill after green feed and will plough that ground first to destroy rape rootstock. Gristing variety Morph is our choice as it responds well to a later sowing date.

Nick and I recently attended a National Pricing Roadshow held by our fertiliser supplier. Now there’s a novel way of trying to soften the blow of a huge price hike.

As expected, the news was pretty grim although latest usage predictions indicate that global supply is expected to grow and should adequately cater for any increased consumption required to support higher levels of production by 2012, which should allow prices to soften.

Meanwhile we have arranged to update our soil tests on all fields to bring our records up to date, enabling us to tailor each recommendation accordingly. With the price of fertiliser at unprecedented levels accurate placement of nutrients is essential.

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