Farmer Focus: Quick work creates some great seed-beds

Harvest is finally over for another year. After 14 long weeks that tried our patience, our final go at combining turned out to be our best: nine hours uninterrupted by rain. As an extra bonus, the good-looking bean crop didn’t disappoint.

The dry stubble was quickly converted into a seed-bed with one pass from the Sumo Trio. Bean stubble, like maize stubble, can turn up some great seed-beds, as long as you’re quick. So fearing this might be our last dry day, out came the aged combination again. At least all the wheat is now drilled.

Up here in Ryedale, it seems the value of a used combination must have doubled in the past two weeks. Dealer’s yards have been cleared out of any combi that can turn a wheel. Apparently, in all those wet fields, only one machine could cope.

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Spraying is a challenge

Still. Every cloud… Pre-emergence sprays have been a challenge: too wet, too windy. Let’s hope we won’t pay too dearly for poor weed control.

If the recent, settled weather continues it should give us chance to move some farmyard manure to field heaps in good conditions. As I write, however, another storm is hovering overhead. Who knows what we’ll wake up to?

We’re told the wider population regards the countryside as its playground. Just lately, they’ve been treating it more like their dustbin. Why would anyone drive 20 miles to a field gate and throw packaging out of the window?

In the same gateway, a whole bag full of rubbish. I was astounded. Who bothers to fill a bin bag then dump it in the middle of the countryside?

Quite sobering to think some of the crops we have just drilled will be sold into a post-Brexit world. Who really knows what that will mean? The country needs strong, firm leadership, not political point scoring.

Agriculture is full of new beginnings, so the arrival of our first grandchild has given us a delightful new perspective. All the political posturing and shenanigans of the past few weeks have become just an annoying distraction. The real future is about what we plant and grow.


Richard Wainwright farms 510ha in Ryedale, on the southern edge of the North Yorkshire Moors. With soil types ranging from heavy clay loam to limestone brash, the family partnership grows winter wheat, winter barley, oilseed rape, spring beans and rotational grass leys. The farm also runs a large beef fattening unit.