Farmer Focus – Farm students becoming increasingly hard to come by

It feels like I have been looking for three needles in a haystack this month.

I’m trying to find a student, a couple of seasons’ old sprayer and a sensibly priced cultivator drill.

Having posted various advertisements for a student at leading agricultural colleges, I have had only one reply so far, which I find disheartening for the industry as a whole.

Cultivator drills at farm sales are realising two-thirds of their original value after eight years of operation, and trying to find a modern, used trailed sprayer is like searching for Lord Lucan.

A new sprayer certainly represents best value for money, but it may mean the holiday mentioned last month gets postponed.

The good news is that the entire farm has been fertilised and the oilseed rape has had its herbicides.

What I would do now for a repeat of February’s warm, still days rather than the Katrina-like winds from the Arctic that have left the extended rape looking like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the roller doors with a bit of a bow in them.

Having done some spraying this year, surely I am not the only increasingly exasperated recycling farmer? Would it be so difficult for the spray can manufacturers to produce every can with a true funnel end?

Once all components are kept separate and the cans jumped upon to minimise space, the filling-up process has taken 10 minutes longer. I enter the fungicide season, using an infinite number of sprays per tank, with a certain trepidation.

The good news is that the recycled plastic garden furniture we will all now buy will not only balance the carbon footprint created by our patio heaters and barbecues, but also keep the bugs away with the slight fragrance of citronella cypermethrin.

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