Farmer Focus: Haunted by memories of 2012

The fact that my three children are all about to sit important exams in the next few weeks makes me ponder my own successes and failures when it came to being examined – maybe I should not ponder for long.

I am convinced that girls get the importance of them a lot quicker than boys and revision is an art form practiced with a wide variety of techniques that somehow always involve a computer, tablet or phone (or all of the above at the same time) being connected to Facebook, Twitter or something else I don’t understand.

But let’s hope that whatever method they use, they will pass all of them satisfactorily so all their aspirations can be achievable. Good luck to them and if any students are reading this now when they should be revising, good luck to you too, but put this magazine down and get back to work!

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A lot of work has been done around here in the past few weeks, seed has been sown, and fertiliser and spray applications are, as I write, up to date. We are three weeks ahead of where we were last year, which is good news, but my confidence that crops will continue to thrive and produce good results are not that high because memories of 2012 still continue to haunt me.

I remember that at this time of year everything seemed to be shaping up well, and then disaster! So it is all to play for, the next few months are critical for us, but I am sure that is the same for many farming businesses throughout the country.

Lord Digby Jones is currently on our small screens as the latest incarnation of The Troubleshooter. I often wonder what he would make of farming businesses were he to cast his expert eye over our “factory floors” and accounts. We are lucky in this industry to have many experts and consultants ready to offer us lots of good practical and financial advice, but seldom, if ever, have I heard of advice offered by someone completely outside our industry. I think he would think this industry is a basket case!

Neil Thomson farms 607ha in partnership with his father and brother from Caverton Mill, Kelso, on the Scottish Borders, growing combinable crops and brassicas. Some of the mainly medium loam is let for potatoes, and the farm also has cattle and sheep.



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