Farmer Focus: Robert Law catches up with drilling regime

Many thanks to those readers of my last focus who checked I kept my word and took Frances out for a belated wedding anniversary.

I was concerned at the time that we might be celebrating another anniversary on the farm – the dubious achievement of having a crop of wheat in the ground for one year.

In the end we managed to harvest the field of Wizard wheat on the 363rd day. The Scots on my farm took this in their stride saying wheat is often a 13 month crop north of the border.

The somewhat “Indian Summer” conditions since then has allowed an element of catching up with the majority of crops being drilled in excellent conditions. But those on heavier soils have struggled more with cobbly seed-beds leading to delayed emergence.

This week we have hosted the Royston area ploughing match. Conditions were ideal with a lovely autumn day and near perfect ground conditions on what many competitors described as “boy’s land”. The day was well supported with 65 tractors out ploughing with many others watching, as well as participating in the Root, Corn and Hay show.

The only complaints came from the Vintage section about our soils, which clung to their mouldboards. It was good to see everybody relaxing and enjoying the day after the trials and tribulations of harvest, let alone the grey clouds circling us concerning the economy.

Certainly paying yesterday two and half times more for next year’s nitrogen only eight months after last season’s has concentrated my mind. A half point cut in the lending rate was quickly more than negated by banks increasing their lending margin to just about every farmer I have spoken to.

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