Farmer Focus: David Shepherdson, February column

The grain store is all but empty, with about four loads of feed wheat left to sell. We sell post-harvest, little and often, hopefully hitting a few highs along the way. But as they have varied by £70/t, they are proving harder than ever to hit.

I hope the land will soon be dry enough to be ploughed and, depending how it turns over, drilled with Tipple spring barley.

The LAMMA show was most enjoyable. It was good to see all the big manufacturers at an event that fits in well with the farm workload and has plenty to view under cover from those inevitable showers.

The biggest machinery change for us this year has been our main tractor. We have always run Case IHs, and I can’t recall any needing serious repair.

After the New Holland merger, a replacement was going to take some shopping around for. A list of possible candidates was drawn up and reps were invited to call for a chat.

Not one salesman could give a price on the day. Each had play with his calculator and post quotes back. Some took up to four weeks to arrive and some have never materialised to this day – six months later.

So, having gathered quotes, driven demonstrations and sussed out the dealers’ back-up, it was decision time. Unable to bring myself to drive a blue tractor (even if they do now come in red, too), we tentatively stepped from the comfort zone of the big four and opted for a T151 Advance Valtra.

The headland management has been worth every penny. And given the choice of colours for our new purchase, it just had to be red.

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