Farmer Focus: A crop well sown is a crop half grown

We are up-to-date with spraying, fertiliser, and drilling as the weather finally allowed us to have a few dry days in the past week or two. We just have the pumpkins left to go.

Conditions for the spring linseed this year couldn’t be much better.

Usually, we are looking at Sahara-dry conditions with baked soil, so this moisture is certainly benefiting the later drilled crops and will hopefully lead to a successful establishment. 

See also: Crop Watch: Blackgrass flowering in cold, wet spring

About the author

Richard Harris
Richard Harris manages his family farm in partnership with his father in south Devon. The farm grows wheat, barley, linseed, grass and cover crops, with a small pick-your-own pumpkin patch.
Read more articles by Richard Harris

As the old boys say, “a crop well sown is a crop half grown”. I tend to lend on this phase more and more these days when establishing any kind of seed.

Now everything is fairly up to date and some new-season fertiliser prices are available, I have crunched a few gross margin numbers and reflected on our seemingly disastrous grain marketing campaign (still not sold a large percentage of old crop).

It would appear that we are now out of the volatile period, with grain and fertiliser prices back to or close enough to 2021 prices (pre-Ukraine war).

Wheat at about £200/t and nitrogen hovering around £1/kg seemed pretty fair value back then, but with the inflation we have been through, it doesn’t quite feel like that now.

Although £800/t fertiliser was a hard pill to swallow, the value of wheat at £300/t made it much more profitable than what we are seeing today.

So, until the next global tragedy or major weather event, it would seem £200/t is the new £150/t base that wheat seemed to struggle to drop below (I hope).

We better get used to it and find a way to make it pay. Much like our dairy farmer friends will have to do with their recent milk price fall from grace.

Need a contractor?

Find one now