Farmer Focus: A fond farewell

At last we are getting some frosty weather, which will hopefully signal an opportunity to control some of the charlock in the oilseed rape.

Worryingly though the blackgrass appears to be recovering from its application of Centurion Max with some plants starting to regrow, which doesn’t bode well.

See also:Sickening acts of rural crime

Thankfully we still have other options in the armoury now that the temperature is dropping but it is a great concern that new products are breaking down so soon.

November seems to have been a month of checking maps sent from the (Rural Land Register) RLR in preparation for the changeover from Single Payment Scheme to Basic Payment Scheme.

The levels of anomalies are quite worrying at this stage and the thought of a new (Rural Payments Agency) RPA computer system on top of this does nothing to allay my concerns.

 I hope, as with previous scheme changes, that once the first year is out of the way the system will settle down and fall into place.

After four years I have decided that it is time to put my pen down and give someone else the chance to put their point of view across and so this is my last article.

Whilst making this decision my mind went back to the start of my agricultural career and the opportunities that came my way. My initial reasons at 12-years-old were to earn money to fund my BMX obsession.

Every weekend and every school holiday I would work on the farm across the road doing whatever needed to be done to fill the coffers.  

By thirteen and a half I had decided on my future career and unknowingly someone was guiding me along the way.

Harper Adams and then employment took me away from the area. The farmer who inspired me and who I owe a great deal of gratitude to is Alan Faulkner of Mere Hall Farm. 

Alan gave me opportunity, experience and information and my parting words – if you are at the start of your career – are to seek out as much of these as possible because they are irreplaceable.

Jon Parker manages 1,500ha near Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, on a medium to heavy land for Ragley Home Farms, predominantly arable growing wheat, oilseed rape, and salad onions. There is also a beef-fattening unit and sheep flock.