Farmer Focus: Drought dents early barley yields

Like last year, haymaking and the early carrot and feed barley harvests were completed by the end of the first week in July, and the consequences of the spring drought has yet again become very apparent in the barley store.

Thankfully, and unlike last year, the seed barley, wheat and root crops have hung on well and look as though they have much more to give. 

Cover crops are now being established following some of these early-harvested crops, with the hope that there will be plenty of green manure to plough in, or quality keep to feed sheep through the winter. So, yet again a busy time for all.

See also: Which feed wheat varieties to grow in your region

It’s been farm-walk season around here again.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of hosting these events is being challenged by others as to how and why we do what we do.

Sometimes, of course, the questions really do make me think very hard about the answer, but it’s still quite good fun remembering costs of production and breakeven costs etc. 

Have we identified clear targets and do we have a view as to how to achieve them.

Maybe something to mull over during those long harvest hours behind the wheel. 

Admittedly, and given the present uncertainty, I would be foolish to suggest that we should act at this stage, but we need to be ready to react and who knows how quickly we will need to do so. 

On a recent trip to attend the Staffordshire NFU Centenary dinner, I got thinking about what the farmers of a 100 years ago would think about our present situation.

Probably much the same as we do now. 

No doubt there was a mass of excitement a 100 years ago. In 1919, a new Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries was formed.

Farmers got loads of encouragement through various agriculture Acts in Parliament to produce food and then it all seemed to go drastically wrong with some Acts repealed and cheap imports.

I do hope that history isn’t just ready to repeat itself.

andrewblenkiron@euston-estate.co.uk