Farmer Focus: No sign of help for would-be starter farmers

By the time you read this, Cereals will have come and gone. We will all have shiny kit envy for a few days and will be sick of hearing about blackgrass.

I personally think there should be some kind of forfeit for anyone who asks when the next chemical is coming out to solve the problem, as we have been told for years that there isn’t one.

To put a positive perspective on it, if you have a blackgrass problem, at least you are farming. There are many people out there who would love to have a farm or run a farm business and be in that position. Not very helpful, I know, but like everyone else, I don’t have the magic answer yet.

Last month I looked at a council farm advertised as a starter farm – 28ha with a big house and some machinery sheds. The sheds would be fine for machinery if we still used Fordson Majors, but you would be worried to park anything in them for fear of them collapsing.

See also: Read more from our arable Farmer Focus writers

There was no grain storage and it didn’t have farm assurance. Most of these issues could be addressed with a little investment, but the small size, the need for three crops and current market rents made the whole thing virtually unprofitable to begin with, and the tenancy on offer was only for five years.

It was what I expected, but still disappointing given it was branded a starter farm. Perhaps I am being picky, but I didn’t feel it would really help anyone starting out in farming in a modern professional manner unless you grassed it all and had horse liveries – which isn’t exactly farming.

Top of my pre-harvest to-do list is to sort out a second tractor, as demand for ploughing, JD750a drilling and Avadex application has increased – although I’m looking to further increase the ploughing and drilling, among other things, with the new addition.

As a result I’m looking for an extra pair of hands, although it appears everyone else is too. So if you are still looking for something to keep you occupied for a few months between July and November, drop me an email.


Matt Redman operates an agricultural contracting business and helps out on the family farm at lower Gravehurst, Bedfordshire. The 210ha farm grows mainly wheat, oilseed rape and beans.

NOVEMBER
3

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