Farmer Focus: Richard Crewe February column

Last week was Brandon Ag Days, the prairie farmer’s biggest winter indoor machinery show and with the current good prices, most farmers there were like little boys in a toy shop.

Our visiting group consisted of my Canadian neighbour, a Scotsman, a newly emigrated Dutchman and me – an Englishman. There must be a joke in there somewhere.

The Canadian tried to claim he was the poorest, but we travelled in a newly acquired, very plush SUV he had just got from Florida.

The joke was that he forgot to turn the lights off when we got there. The resulting dead battery was revived by another farmer who prudently in this weather had jumper cables with him.

The Dutchman was trying to decide what sort of no-till seeder to buy.There were row spacings from 175mm to 300mm, side placement to mid-row banding of fertiliser, liquid, dry or anhydrous, and through every design of opener imaginable.

I was looking to replace our 27-year-old tandem grain truck before the cab either falls apart from rust or my feet drop off from frost bite.

There were dealers in good second-hand highway trucks present and firms that build and fit new grain boxes.

Fertiliser prices have increased by an average 27% this winter. So we’ve taken delivery of as much of our dry fertiliser as we can store plus another 42t of liquid N at £172/t.

Enough Morgan oats for 190ha and 55t of hard red spring wheat variety Superb for 400ha have been cleaned.

My only show purchase was a £20 tool to release oil pressure from hydraulic hose couplings without spraying one’s clothes from head to toe. Jane was pleased!

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