FARMER FOCUS: Show public the true picture

I have just finished watching Countryfile on the BBC. Adam Henson was visiting a Welsh hill farmer who had suffered horrendous losses as a result of the blizzards and the “dead lorry” was pictured being filled from a pile of sheep. In order not to upset viewers, the camera focus was dulled and the full extent of the carnage became unclear. Why should urban viewers be sheltered from the real world of farming?, asks Allan Chambers. 

There was no censorship back in BSE times, when that poor old cow was repeatedly shown staggering about and the media successfully convinced the public that they would all die of CJD if they ate beef. That wrecked a sector of our industry. Their prediction has, of course, been proven to be totally false, yet when a real disaster happens the public are sheltered. Come on media, report and show the truth.

It seems like every Atlantic low that has formed in these last 10 months has dumped its contents about 200 miles east of the norm. Although we have managed to drill the spring wheat, our crops need to receive their agronomy care and this is proving difficult. In arable farming “timeliness is next to Godliness” and I get frustrated when we can’t get on the ground when we should.

Forage maize has been forward sold at a price that will be of value to our customers and it is up to us to grow a high- yielding crop to achieve our margin. This means establishment by the time this article is read, but the forecast is not good. At least this year’s crop is in the driest part of the farm, so that will help.

A recent HGCA report summarising differing attitudes to marketing grain was a good read. The winner was the “wait to harvest, then sell over the 12 man”. This result was for the 2012/13 year, when world markets were on the rise.

Allan Chambers farms 270ha of medium stony loam at Tullynaskeagh Farm, Tullynaskeagh, Co Down, with brother David growing cereals, grass for haylage and maize.

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