Farmer Focus: Local grain traders get a makeover

I am intrigued by the current makeover of the grain traders in our area. One of them turns out to have a weekend alter ego who plays trash metal in a band, and many of the ageing/newly promoted male grain traders are being replaced by sub-30-something females.

I am fully in favour of this, but the only downside is that since this transition, they have only been relaying ever more depressing news about the state of the markets.

This change is in line with the annual excitement in farm yards across the country in anticipation of the visiting grain sampler. Over the years we have had anyone from young university-aged females in inappropriate hotpants to balding septuagenarians.

When the former visits, the yard is alive with drivers performing vital tractor maintenance. When it is the latter, the yard is like a ghost town.

Having cut a lot of spring barley this year, I am more determined than ever to get on top of the blackgrass. Despite a robust PGR programme, I had to cut most of the fields cross-ways to try to pick the heads off the floor, and as soon as the sun goes down, all the straw wants to do is wrap around the auger. And don’t get me started on the awns – they get everywhere. A farm full of wheat cannot come soon enough.

For once the weather did exactly as was hoped on the last Saturday of August, despite completely contradicting the words of the weather forecaster – the most inaccurate profession in the world, .

The rain came and I was free to attend the society wedding of the year in Herefordshire. It seems commonplace to have farming weddings in August down there, a fact I can only put down to the cider, or the ammonia levels being too high in the chicken sheds.

It was a wonderful day and ticked all the boxes for a perfect wedding. We were treated to fillet of beef, enough alcohol for 10 weddings, a stunning location and to top it off, the ushers were dressed as saxophone-playing horses on the dance floor while fireworks went off in the distance. Brilliant.

Will Howe farms 384ha of medium to heavy land at Ewerby Thorpe Farm, near Sleaford, Lincolnshire, growing wheat, oilseed rape and winter beans.

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