Farmer Focus: Cropping revamp rejected

We have three Border Scots working here at Royston. Besides being laid back, they’re all quite reassuring and wondering what everybody here is fussing about. They are used to most of their crops being gathered in September.

We grow eight combinable crops so we’ve been able to keep going when we couldn’t handle wheat.

Despite harvest delay we’ve done our best not to get behind with next year’s plans. We have 200ha of stubble turnips established for our ewes and bought-in store lambs this winter.

Next week, having done some contract oilseed rape drilling, we will sow our seed crops of forage rape and stubble turnips, and grass.

With all combinable crops yielding well above average it would be tempting to start changing our cropping programme. But prudence says we should stay with the existing one built around soil types, storage, combine capacity and local marketing opportunities.

How disappointed I was to see an article berating arable farmers for supposedly ripping up set-aside land to crop again. As we know, a lot of set-aside land was always in industrial cropping while much of the balance was and still is in environmental schemes.

With raised input costs a break even figure of £130/t is being quoted for wheat growing at average 2009 yields. So on marginal land we might even see more fallow.

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