Farmer Focus: Will Howe’s rape yield better than expected

The 70ha of rape cut so far is yielding better than anticipated, but it’s by no means barn-busting and the new combine is making short work of it.

I thought I was romping along until I saw my neighbour’s new Axial-Flow in full flight, which is like something out of a Roadrunner cartoon. Blink and you miss it.

With the barn now starting to look full, I was impressed by the merchant’s prompt collection and happy to see the crop on its way to store – while trying to ignore the current price.

My only gripe was that the first lorry was dirty and I was given the excuse that drivers were not allowed to clean lorries at the cement works. It was the same with some lorries last winter which had been carting sugar beet into Newark.

I can only assume this is to do with public liability insurance premiums. But why should we be expected to allow lorries to clean down on our farms using our equipment while we sit patiently waiting?

The new Challenger had its first outing yesterday and lived up to its billing splendidly. The only thing it highlighted was the tightness of the heavier ground. I thought, that despite last year’s atrocious conditions, my efforts to minimise soil damage had paid off, but current evidence suggests not.

It seems that last year’s wet summer affected the south-east more than here, given the amount of spring crops I saw during my recent judging trip.

Many crops looked promising and it was nice to see old friends/bosses again. But I certainly don’t miss the traffic, small fields and narrow lanes that farmers there have to contend with. I am certainly grateful for a ring-fenced farm in the middle of nowhere.

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