Farmer Focus: New office whiteboard aids cropping plans

Well, another Cereals event has passed with me vowing never to attend again. I find the concept of having to pay to enter a show, when you know those trying to sell their wares are also paying, a little distressing.

With this firmly in mind I spent a couple of hours looking at machinery that doesn’t interests me – or more accurately, I can’t justify, then retreated to “Sharks Alley”, where I proceeded to drink my entrance fee in local beer and gorge myself on superb steak sandwiches at the show’s consistently best stand. This was followed by some raucous banter over a slice of chocolate cake with an attractive solicitor. Now tell me, why I am never going again?

See also: Read more from our arable Farmer Focus writers

After careful consideration and research I have decided to embrace the world of technology once again. I did suffer a setback when trying to use social media, as what I want to say requires a lot more than 140 characters, and I have enough friends to render Facebook irrelevant.

So, there is now going to be an iPad in my lunch bag so all crop and field records can be updated in “real-time” or, more likely, when I remember – just like the old paper version.

All I need now is a drone that will allow me to reach the higher echelons of farm management. I could then perhaps overlay yield maps and blackgrass maps, soil-type maps and historical maps – all on top of the farm map. The information will be invaluable to making “out-of-the-box” decisions about agri-business management once I can decipher the splodge of colour on the desk.

With this in mind I went a bit retro. No drone, but a sparkly whiteboard is now hung on the office wall with a farm map superimposed over it. The thought process is that if all CID units can solve murder cases with a whiteboard, than surely I can come up with a rotation with one.

Well, we are now on rotation mk28. The basic premise is spring barley, spring beans and just enough winter wheat to keep “the clipboards” happy.  Having 93% of the farm as spring cropping does concern me, but not as much as having blackgrass-infested winter crops.

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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