Farmer Focus: Philip Bradshaw, February column

I have enjoyed the feedback from my first Farmer Focus article – mostly light-hearted comments from friends and neighbours.

My favourite reaction was a call from the gentleman who was the county councillor largely responsible for overseeing farm lettings on the Cambridgeshire County Council Farms Estate back in the late 1980s when Jayne and I were desperate to get our first farm.

Our post-college finances made our cash-flow forecasts look like a warning to Northern Rock. However, we were granted our first 82-acre tenancy in 1989.

This reminds me that, like many others, we are grateful to those people who see our potential which can generate the opportunities we need.

We traditionally do our winter ploughing late, hopefully to avoid wind erosion and, with the exception of our ELS over-wintered stubbles, we have just finished the land for sugar beet which will be again grown despite my concern over short-term profitability.

The recent settled weather has allowed us to spray Dursban (chlorpyriphos) on the highest risk late-drilled wheat as part of an integrated strategy to control wheat bulb fly.

A long dry spell would now be useful to permit early rolling which is a useful, cheap and environmentally friendly part of this strategy.

We are in the early stages of a major disruption to the Whittlesey farm in the shape of a new Peterborough to March water main that will cut across five fields beside the last such pipeline, installed less than 20 years ago.

I accept there is a need to safeguard water supplies and understand the mechanism bywhich utility companies achieve these developments. But I have concerns over how the agents for the water company are handling the project’s effect on our farm, and I would be pleased to hear from others affected.

Online grain trading made easy with Farmers Weekly Graindex

It takes just a couple of minutes to create a listing on Farmers Weekly Graindex and you’ll get a range of prices to compare from active buyers who want your grain.
Visit Farmers Weekly Graindex
See more