Farmer Focus: Richard Cobbald, March column

Keen to do my bit for the brewing industry, a profession long close to many farmers’ hearts, we pushed on and successfully drilled, top-dressed and sprayed my 100ha (250 acres) of Tipple spring barley – only to find our beloved Chancellor has put 6p on a pint.

Out to prove he is a greater exponent of stealth taxation than his predecessor, he cleverly disguised his reasons for the hike by blaming binge drinking. I’m sure it will be used for a far more worthy cause – making the DEFRA offices in York more environmentally friendly, perhaps?

Joking apart, how can we take them seriously? On that note I must stop taking a swipe at Westminster or I may start being followed by strange cars with blacked out windows.

The successful spring continued in the first week of the month, when Paul Cornwall, our sugar beet contractor, drilled our whole crop into perfect seed-beds by 6 March.

We plan to try to lift half of it early if the season permits to get a good wheat in behind and liven up the partridges which have a habit of sitting very tight. So the early start is just what we wanted.

We let the welcome rains that came with the stormy weather soak in before topping the N up on our oilseed rape and giving the sugar beet its first 40kg/ha.

The rape and wheat are really starting to move and recommendations have landed on my desk from agronomist David Boothroyd for T0 and growth regulators in readiness for growth stage 30 about now.

The time for chocolate bunnies and hot cross buns has now passed, and I’m still questioning whether I really could afford the extra 6p for those pints over the holiday. But I hope you all had a good Easter break.

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