FARMER FOCUS: First season with liquid fertiliser

I’m hoping that between me writing this and you reading it, spring will finally be here. After so many months of limited farming activity, it will probably be a bit of a shock to the system, but I won’t be complaining, writes Matt Redman

Unfortunately, I think even when spring does arrive it will be too late and the knock-on effects of last year will be visible, physically and financially, on many farms for at least a year or two.

I’m looking forward to our first full season using liquid fertiliser, the obvious reason being that it’s more work coming my way for the sprayer. But also, it means we can be more flexible with timings. We’re not dictated so much by the weather, and applications will be more accurate, especially on the headlands, than with the old spinning disc machine.

It should also be easier logistically; there are no bags to unload from a lorry into the shed, then from the shed to trailer and finally trailer to spreader. It’s still a two man job, but pumping into the bowser, traveling to the field and pumping out is just as quick and probably safer than transporting bags – plus there are no empty bags to deal with afterwards.

We passed our farm assurance inspection for another year just as the horsemeat scandal came to light and although it wasn’t crop related, it does make you wonder just how assured and traceable the end product will be if ingredients are used from non-assured farms. If a local butcher or restaurant sold horse as beef, or anything as something else, they’d be forced out of business.

So why are we so easy on the big supermarkets? There’s never been a better time to support the NFU #BuyBritish and Farmers Weekly’s “Meat you want to eat” campaigns and shout “Buy British” at every opportunity.

Matt Redman operates an agricultural contracting business and helps out on the family farm at lower Gravehurst, Bedfordshire. The 210ha farm grows mainly wheat, oilseed rape and beans

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