Farmer Focus: Keith Challen enjoys Agritechnica

Well five inches of rain in four weeks certainly concentrates the mind. Delayed drilling isn’t an option at Belvoir, so we are glad to be drilled up. Crops look well and blackgrass is at manageable levels, – famous last words that I’m sure I will come to regret!

I have to admit feeling a little jaded while writing this, having just returned from four days at the Agritechnica show in Germany with a couple of mates.

As usual the show was fantastic, along with the partying – thanks to Larrington Trailers for inviting us to an evening of entertainment on their stand; it was much appreciated.

Thanks, too, to the town of Hannover for putting up with nearly half a million agricultural visitors, most of who were out all night.

We found lots of innovation at the show and I was pleased to see the British end being well represented. Larrington’s ejector trailer looked good, a visit to Garford’s stand concreted my mind on the need for a band sprayer to contol blackgrass in oilseed rape, and I liked the look of Claydon’s new rolls – just to mention a few of the 60-odd British companies in attendance.

It never ceases to amaze me the diversity of farm machinery at this show and what was obvious was how many companies were offering equipment related to the renewable energy sector, including some monstrous tankers with up to 36m booms for spreading digestate or slurry. I daren’t think what they cost.

Millie’s first days shooting this season was a complete success – well her part in the day was.

All that I shot, which incidentally you could count on one hand, was retrieved and presented beautifully.

However, historically every shot in training meant there was a dummy to retrieve where as only every third shot resulted in a retrieval on shoot day. I’m sure she will get used to the disappointment of my shooting; I know I have.

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Keith Challen manages 800ha of heavy clay soils in the Vale of Belvoir, Leicestershire, for Belvoir Fruit Farms. Cropping includes wheat, oilseed rape and elderflowers. The farm is also home to the Belvoir Fruit Farms drinks business

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