Farmer Focus: Martin Lawrenson strives to be positive

After my last couple of Farmer Focus moans about the weather, potato harvest, fertiliser and diesel prices, etc, I’ve decided to be positive and optimistic in this month’s effort (or at least to try).

Winter cereal sowing has progressed well so far. After ploughing half of the first field, the rain came, since when we haven’t been able to make any progress. Luckily, this has saved us from drilling seed and seeing it rotting or flooded. We’ve also saved money on diesel, fertiliser and wear and tear on the plough and drill.

Potato lifting has been marginally better, with a couple of decent days’ harvesting Navan on land we rent locally. It makes you feel better when you can at least see a stack of full boxes even if it fills only a quarter of the store.

Yields have been about average and the quality is surprisingly good, so with careful monitoring we should be able to store them through until spring.

The Nadine and Estima have been windrowed in the field and earthed up. One benefit of our peaty land is that this can work well and preserve skin finish for packing without needing to store inside.

As usual, as soon as we got tractors rolling we realised we were going to need more diesel. Am I the only one with a diesel tank that empties at twice the speed that I think it should? (Oops! Must get back to positive thoughts.)

A quick call to our local supplier informed us that prices had dropped to 48p/litre, which was a fair chunk cheaper than the last load we bought.

I hope cheaper oil prices may also bring down gas prices, which should make fertiliser cheaper, too.

Blind optimism feels good actually. Now where did I park that plough?

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