Farmer Focus: Corn carting is more stressful on public roads

Harvest began with a false start for us, with a faulty starter motor that gave up just as the combine was at the edge of the field.

A week later, with a new starter motor and finally some OK weather, it has been all systems go.

Although that week of rain did not help the Skyfall which went from being not ready to sprouting. It’s been a mixed bag so far, with variable quality and yields, and moistures higher than ideal.

See also: Two soil farmer of the year finalists share their top tips

About the author

Charlie Cheyney
Arable Farmer Focus writer Charlie Cheyney farms more than 480ha land in Hampshire in partnership with his father. They run a mixed arable and 450-cow dairy enterprise, growing cereal and forage crops on varying soils, from chalk to heavy clay.
Read more articles by Charlie Cheyney

We started with some rather flat spring barley that blew the cobwebs off my combine driving.

Since then, crops have come off rather more hassle free, with the team working hard and stepping up to make harvest go smoothly, with crops off, bales in and some grass seed being drilled behind.

The discs and broadcast seeder have proved a valuable tool, drilling grass seed and cover crops post-harvest quickly and effectively.

The guys have been busy the past few weeks getting a lot achieved in a short time, so a weekend off was well deserved. With the weather forecast predicting rain that never came, it seemed like a good opportunity for everyone to have a break and refuel.

I don’t envy the guys on the trailers this year. Most of the trip is through single-track village roads and makes for tricky driving. If we had an alternative route, I would take it, but unfortunately there isn’t one.

This is not helped by a push to discourage village traffic; hedges are well overgrown with all vehicles driving further into the middle of the road.

To add to this, there has been talk of adapting roads to slow traffic by further narrowing them and putting in one-way points.

All this, coupled with abusive fellow road users and even cyclists holding onto the back of trailers, makes the whole job a stressful experience.

An upgrade to two-way radios meaning the guys can warn each other of potential issues and ensure they can pass at safe points has really helped. But it seems to be getting harder to drive tractors on the roads.

It will be interesting to see whether we are still using tractors for this type of haulage in future.

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