Farmer Focus: Concerned at the amount of grain left in store

We are more than halfway through our spring inter-row hoeing and undersowing campaign, with all the early-March planting done.

Only the later crops remain. These plants could actually do with being a bit taller so that we can hoe them more aggressively to get rid of some fairly advanced weeds that have taken advantage of being min-tilled and missed by our pre-sowing cultivation.

About the author

John Pawsey
Arable Farmer Focus writer John Pawsey is an organic farmer at Shimpling Park in Suffolk. He started converting the 650ha of arable cropping in 1999, and also contract farms an additional 915ha organically, growing wheat, barley, oats, beans and spelt.
Read more articles by John Pawsey

The weeds have been enjoying the recent sun and rains – as have our crops – but their time has come.

Something that has been concerning me over the past few weeks is the amount of grain left in my grain store, waiting to be moved, as well as a small amount still left to sell.

See also: Crop Watch: Fusarium and bad year for late-emerging weeds

I mentioned in a previous column that our relationship with a local feed mill broke down after 10 years when it announced it would import all its grains before Christmas.

Not great for my cashflow, and it meant we had to find new homes for some of our crops. 

The organic animal feed industry has been struggling, with a 60% rise in soya prices, but rather than engaging with the organic combinable crops sector here, they have again turned to imported grain from the East.

Not so with the non-organic feed ration – feed millers have taken in a large UK barley crop and included it in their ration. Well done to them.

This is a poor back story for the organic meat sector and it needs to be addressed by feed mills and the farmers buying from them.

The result of this refusal of the sector to engage has meant that marketing organic combinable feed grains has never been so difficult, and in-conversion crops are almost impossible to sell. 

Need a contractor?

Find one now