Farmer Focus: Rain dashes hopes for early inputs

Just lately I feel a certain empathy with “Black Jack” Pershing, the US general whose expeditionary force fruitlessly chased revolutionary leader Pancho Villa across Mexican mountains and plains in 1916.

Like many frustrated farmers, we live with the constant pest of “lawless dog men”.

We’ve had many face-to-face confrontations, but just when we think we’ve scared one group away, along comes the next car-load.

See also: The law on shooting dogs – critical facts farmers must know

Despite their flat refusal to acknowledge the words “legal” and “boundary”, somehow the system favours them every time.

The authorities seem powerless and the issue is not going away. If the BPS reforms open up the countryside even more, where will it all end?

Drainage maintenance is worthwhile

Our fields are still very wet in Ryedale and any thoughts of early inputs have been shelved. On the whole the crops are in good nick so they won’t suffer having to wait for their spring appetiser.

Our oilseed rape is actually well forward — like a lot of other oilseed rape crops, delaying sulphur applications may actually help.

Another thought on the water theme: land drain maintenance is seldom not worth the effort.

After we cleaned out some ditches last week, the drains have run into them ever since. As if any of us need a reminder that the best improvement you can give the land is drainage!

Tough decision for Lamma

It seems a long time ago now, but I have to mention Lamma, the premier UK agricultural machinery show. I felt really sorry for the organisers.

They had a nearly impossible decision to make when gales hit the Peterborough site in January, but they made the right choice in cancelling the second day. 

After the last scary weather event at Lamma’s old home in Newark, “safety first” is the only way to go.

Moving forward, will Lamma’s new home at the NEC prove a hit? At least it will be dry and warm, but will there be as many exhibitors at the new tariffs?

The excellent Yorkshire Agricultural Machinery Show (Yams) at Murton has all but replaced the Lamma event up north.

Now in its fifth year, Yams is growing into a really great showcase for the agri-machinery sector. Let’s hope it can stay true to its roots.


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.