Farmer Focus: Richard Beachell finds UK chill hard to take after Florida holiday

Returning from our family holiday in Florida to a very wintry scene, I’ve spent the past week trying, with difficulty, to re-motivate myself for early-morning starts.

After a fortnight of Orlando sunshine and 80C temperatures, fitting a new gearbox to the hedge cutter in a freezing cold shed is a stark contrast.

My son Thomas has reached the age where he needs to choose which subjects to take at A-level. My wife, Sue, and I have tried not to influence him too much, as we’d like him to follow his own path but we’re delighted that business studies and economics are two of his choices.

A good understanding of these should set him firmly on his career path which, thankfully, will be outside agriculture. Although farming is a constant challenge, for most of the time it’s a unique and enjoyable career to follow. But I really fear for the long-term prospects of the tenant farmer, hence my encouragement for him to do something else.

Before I went away, I attended a meeting with a local central grain store to assess the possibility of becoming a member. I have always been a big fan of co-operation between farmers to create economies of scale, and this is one way I can really reduce my harvesting costs compared with the uneconomical prospect of building something on farm.

Decision time for how we deal with grain drying and storage for next harvest and beyond is imminent, so I must now weigh up the pros and cons of the available options.

The long-term views of my landlord regarding the function of the farmstead will also carry a great deal of weight. But the guarantee of efficient handling of wet grain at harvest will be the most important deciding factor.

Happy New Year.


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