Farmer Focus : Matthew Dale 17/12/04

WITH CHRISTMAS almost upon us it is hard to believe that it is only a year ago that grain prices were up in the nineties. All the forward sold grain has gone so it really hurt yesterday when I loaded an artic with feed wheat at the spot price of £64/t. At least it was higher than the £58/t we were getting in November 2002.

Meanwhile the sprayer has been out on the winter cereals with cypermethrin on the earlier sown crops where the Secur seed dressing has run out of steam. Weeds have also been targeted with IPU and Ardent (diflufenican + trifluralin) across the board plus Compitox (mecoprop-P) where volunteer beans are a problem.

Jillie and I were invited to a Farmers” Forum by the local Tory prospective parliamentary candidate, Ashley Crossley last month. I am no great lover of politics but I felt any chance to get some farming feedback to Westminster must be a good thing.

Our current MP, Candy Atherton is one of “Blair’s Babes”, whisked down from London to win the seat in 1997. Not only does she appear to have no grasp of what happens in the countryside but she is very anti-hunting.

One of the 30 attending the forum was Mike Stevens, a blacksmith, who hails from the Lizard Peninsula. Mike met Ms Atherton when she was canvassing for the Falmouth/Camborne seat in 1997 when she asked him if she could count on his vote. Mike answered no, as he did not like policies in the Labour manifesto. “Do you mind if I ask what you do for a living?” asked the Labour candidate. “I”m a farrier,” he replied. “Huh!” she snorted. “People like you who deal in fur coats disgust me!”

Ah (sigh), our parliamentary representatives, so in touch with the ordinary working folk on the ground. Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

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