Farmer Focus: Premium price for the best crumpet?

It was interesting to hear some thoughts on milling wheat premiums from several people since I mentioned the subject last month.

More than once I have discussed the possibility of further enhanced premiums for even more “customer specific” varieties or for growing to protocols to achieve a particular type of wheat. One which, for example, may give the ultimate flour to produce the finest teatime crumpet.

But the principle is still the same. Such premiums for specialist milling wheat production need to be substantial to tempt growers away from the relatively safe occupation of growing feed wheat at current prices.

It had been my hope that for this month’s contribution I would have had substantial fieldwork achievements to report, but that is not the case.

We have had three weeks of miserable weather, the highlight being our snow at Easter, which found me decorating in the house rather than drilling sugar beet.

I may have missed out on sowing earlier, perhaps in February, but as I write this entering April I am quite relaxed about my beet which is being drilled now.

While there is plenty of evidence to support sowing it early, our best paying crops here have often been drilled in late, rather than early, March, and I look forward to some rapid crop emergence and early growth in the good soil conditions we now have.

Warmer weather will also be welcome for the combinable crops.

The most forward oilseed rape fields are receiving a growth-regulating fungicide and will soon need their second spring nitrogen application.

The small areas of pigeon damaged rape and rabbit hit wheat are still evident, but starting to recover and grow away. And in general the farms look well and have good potential at this stage.

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