Farmer Focus : Steve Bumstead 12/11/04

THERE IS an awful lot of oilseed rape and wheat drilled around here. But the scary part is much of the anticipated tonnage is unsold and has yet to secure a market.

Could this be “speculative planting”? Farmers becoming market punters? I think many growers are refusing to divorce the Single Farm Payment (SFP) from crop production, at least for this coming year.

So far, I have drilled about a third of my croppable area with Cordiale and Einstein wheat. Some neighbours think I have a phobia about drilling wheat in September. Maybe I do, but experience has taught me that the best gross margins do not come from early drilled wheat, although there are many who will beg to differ. However, I tend to select varieties that yield especially well in the later drilled slot.

Emergence of volunteers, grass and broadleaved weeds has been extremely good on post-harvest stubbles this year. All mine have been sprayed with 3 litres/ha of glyphosate in 100 litres/ha of water, rather than my normal 150 litres/ha, and using 02 nozzles instead of 03 VP nozzles. So far the results look better on the more difficult grassweed targets such as blackgrass and bromes. This is the most cost effective method of controlling these difficult, yield destroying weeds.

At the HGCA’s Market Outlook conference last month, HGCA’s Alistair Dickie suggested farm rents will be too high to be sustainable under the SFP regime and will fall steeply over the next few years. Does this mean there will be a plethora of section 10 rent review notices served by tenants on landlords next year? I don’t think any landlord will be daft enough to serve a section 10 on a tenant at this time!

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