Farmer Focus: Philip Bradshaw looks forward to 2009

It seems incredible that I’ve written this column for 12 months.

As we start a new year I always find myself reflecting as well as contemplating the one ahead.

We should look back only positively, learning from the events of 2008. I now know that good marketing needs a high level of risk management built in, with a good slice of luck to assist.

I’m also reminded by the autumn-long battle with slugs on a couple of wheat blocks that a good old-fashioned Cambridge roll can still be valuable also, that when the weather breaks with ex-sugar beet land to drill, the plough and power harrow is still our best option.

I have several farming highlights to remember, including a visit to France, judging some excellent farms in Essex, and particularly seeing the high yields through early harvest from my wheat.

Unfortunately these generally higher yields gave me a low point when it became clear that the price was dropping rapidly as harvest unfolded, and the gas expenditure for my drying plant was exceeding any worst scenario I’d imagined.

As we enter 2009 I’m reasonably pleased with the way our farms look. Crops have struggled through the autumn’s cold and wet but I have drilled just about everything planned and winter sowings treatments are generally up to date.

I should like to wish everyone a happy, healthy and hopefully prosperous New Year and I’m happy to share some of my resolutions with you.

There is the usual “eat and drink less” or “exercise more” type, but also some new ones.

In particular I resolve to upgrade our grain storage/drying for next year, keep my office work more up to date, ignore price-increasing claims of nitrogen fertiliser suppliers, and to get my monthly copy to Farmers Weekly on time.


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