Farmer Focus: Busy time for Andrew Hunter

Much has happened, with harvest starting in all three countries.

Serbia’s wheat is finished, with the yield averaging only 3.5t/ha due, I believe, to lack of spring rainfall limiting nitrogen uptake.

It’s very similar in Hungary, where we have direct-drilled mustard after the whole crop to see if we can mop up some of the N.

After three months without rain during the spring, when we desperately needed it, combining has been hampered by wet weather.

We’re now in a weather pattern with rain every two or three days. Harvesting is slow, with poor quality and low yields.

We’ve started on oilseed rape in Ukraine, where I recently spent a weekend helping assemble the new drier.

Exporting to Ukraine involves an unbelievable amount of paperwork, with different things required all the time.

We’ve had further complications in the shape of two Biso rape extensions we ordered and took out from Austria. They turned out to be incompatible with our combines. We’ve now been supplied with two more that we’ve taken out, and we’re now trying to get the first two back out of Ukraine.

I haven’t had a single grain merchant call me this season. Anyone I contact expresses very little interest, making offers of about £80/t for full-spec milling wheat – for October/November movement, with payment some time next year.

Our most regular visitor at the moment is the bank. One bit of good news is that base rate dropped 1% this week and the bank is reducing its margin to us by 0.5%.

We’re still waiting impatiently for the government/EU to come up with the money for our building projects last year, which would ease the pressure considerably.

The good news amidst all this is that the sun is shining today.

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