Farmer Focus: Some good newt news at last

Thankfully, no more Euston Great Newts (my slippery little pals) have been captured since I last wrote. Success!

Get on while the weather is good and dig that hole for the water I hear you all shout. Well just hold on a bit, the next exciting chapter of the New Great Lake at Euston is just about to begin. The next many thousands of pounds are just about to be invested (wasted) in this project – what next?

Well now it’s the turn of the men with their little trowels and paint brushes, the archaeologists, who must now join the gravy train and spend a few weeks checking out the site, photographing and recording what they find. Let’s hope that they don’t come across one of my slippery little pals; no doubt it will be back to the drawing board if they do.

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A couple of local NFU branch MP meetings have been undertaken recently, a very useful hour spent attempting to educate those who hold influence in deciding our financial fate. One of our requests was for more detail on the CAP reform, particularly around the Ecological Focus Areas (EFA) rules and how we are going to introduce them this next cropping year.

I suppose that we should start a competition to find the most suitable words for this acronym – my first, polite attempt is European Flipping Abortion. Another issue was to raise the issue of capital allowances. While I did mention that there wouldn’t be too many farmers spending half a million pounds on new kit, I did comment that it would be nice to use some of the allowance on the aforementioned reservoir or even a new shed. As usual the MPs will look into it.

Back out in the fields, which we can still just about work without quite so many constraints, the sugar beet is all emerging exceptionally well. Forage maize for the AD plant has gone into excellent conditions. Winter cereals and oilseeds are growing away and there is just about enough water on this light land. I do hope that everyone is looking forward to the Cereals event which is just around the corner – another exciting adventure into the world of high-tech equipment, no doubt.

Andrew Blenkiron manages the 4,400ha Euston Estate, south of Thetford. Principal farm enterprises are combinable and root crops, including sugar beet. In addition the estate supports let land, sheep, outdoor pigs, poultry, suckler cows, horses and stewardship


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