Farmer Focus: David Shepherdson’s land is wetter than ever

With land now wetter than ever, we’re still unable to start any spring fieldwork, having suffered another snow covering.

The recent rally in the wheat price seems to have stalled a long way short of what’s needed. Which way it will go now is anyone’s guess. The severe droughts reported around the globe will have a huge bearing on any possible rises in old crop in the run-up to harvest.

I still haven’t been offered a malting barley contract that is anywhere close to meeting production costs. It seems that after a successful year when nearly all barley made the grade, maltsters feel confident that the same will happen again. But they should know better than anyone the variations in quality from one year to the next.

It would be refreshing to see them stand by their growers and put a sensible offer on the table. After all, they need us to produce a high-quality product as much as we need them to recognise its worth.

We are now in the new NVZ, as are most in England, so we attended a local NFU meeting to try to get up to speed on what’s required.

For many in the livestock sector on slurry-based systems, it is doubtlessly going to involve heavy investment in storage. For us it will mean yet more maps and paperwork to appease the Environment Agency, the incentive being that failure to get involved could result in deductions from single farm payments.

Fat lambs are leaving the farm weekly and at last reaching prices that reflect the time and effort that has gone into keeping them. We shall grow a bit more fodder beet for them this year it’s an extremely good source of energy and you can see the lambs growing week on week.

Need a contractor?

Find one now
See more