Farmer Focus: Delights of hosting school farm visits

This is probably the most difficult Farmer Focus piece I have had to complete – written before the results of the EU referendum are known, but printed after that momentous day in our nation’s recent history. 

Tempted as I am to predict what will happen, I will refrain from being so foolish. Needless to say, no matter the result, I’m afraid that won’t be the end of it.

Neither side will be happy unless we continue to go through the entire painful process for some considerable time. 

I always find if you ask a question enough times, you eventually get the result you want. Let’s hope we can move on, put the bad-tempered part of this debate behind us and make the best of the situation we are faced with.

As farmers we are, of course, totally adaptable, resourceful and determined, with no issue too big for us to face together. 

Out on the land, crops have been developing at an exceptional rate and even here on the Brecks, we have had plenty of rain to help boost yield.

The winter barley harvest will not be far away now and we are looking forward to getting stuck into that. Who knows, I might even be allowed a shot piloting the combine this year. 

One of the delights of the summer is farm visits. I particularly enjoy hosting schools and other visitors here at Euston.

This year we have had some cracking evenings out around the crops and have been exceptionally lucky with what we have seen.

On one occasion, not only did the crops look exceptionally well, but we also saw a mass of wildlife, including five common curlews, numerous lapwings and oyster catchers, not to mention the deer grazing some of the barley. 

See also: Read more from our Arable Farmer Focus writers

This clearly demonstrated that intensive farming can exist alongside wildlife and is another of the messages we must work harder to get across to the general public. 

I am very much looking forward to returning to Staffordshire in July to complete some more farm visits, this time to assist in the judging process of the Agricultural Society’s farms’ competition.

Andrew Blenkiron manages the 4,400ha Euston Estate, south of Thetford. Principal farm enterprises are combinable and root crops, including sugar beet. In addition the estate supports let land, sheep, outdoor pigs, poultry, suckler cows, horses and stewardship.

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