Farmer Focus: Richard Cobbald watches the combine fly

Late last Sunday evening, thanks to the wonders of Sky +, I watched a recording of Countryfile and finally found a piece of the programme that I really enjoyed.

The weather told of plus 25C temperatures in the south east for at least five days. There followed a story utterly irrelevant to anyone with any interest in the countryside. Is it possible just to subscribe to Sky Sports and not pay a licence fee?

The combine is now flying in dry crops and we’re managing to fill our sheds, in which we have only pedestal-type drying systems, with sub-15% moisture wheat. It’s over two years since we’ve done that.

Yields are variable. First wheat is going well, with second wheats and spring barley average.

The combination of rabbits and the prolonged dry spell in spring had a big impact. But the oilseed rape result was especially pleasing, reflecting the huge efforts the guys put into fighting pigeons all through the winter.

With an expanded area now going in, we look forward to the seven-day-a-week drudgery awaiting us next winter. There’s only so much fun you can derive from large explosions.

Lastly, a couple of “thank yous” to people departing their posts. First, to Andrew Blake who has had to edit the stuff I send in for these articles. Thank you for the chance to write in the Farmer Focus column. I wish you all the best in your “retirement”.

Second, to Aaron Haugh, who, after a year as farm foreman, has decided to return to New Zealand to further his career on the family farm there. Good luck to you, mate, and thanks for all the hard work.

So now it’s back to the tractor and rolling oilseed rape for me – still doing boys’ jobs.

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