Farmer Focus: End of year figures make good reading

Monsoon season has arrived. Heavy showers and prolonged periods of rain have been the norm for the past month, which is frustrating as I still have some spraying to finish off. However, all the crops are off to a good start which is positive.

The battle to keep crows and pigeons away continues, so I had to invest in another “bird banger”, as the gentlemen standing in the fields dressed as council workers and wearing calf buckets on their heads were not really being effective!

November is a month for catching up on office work and reflecting on the past year. Encouragingly, the figures for once don’t look too bad.

See also: How four arable farmers made their farms more resilient

Harvest was reasonable, prices are better than last year and we have housed cattle at better weights. Problem is that this improved position is mainly due to circumstances over which I have no control, namely the weather and market conditions.

Positive views

I am very aware that I still have to farm as efficiently as possible, be able to react to changing weather and try to gain some control within the marketplace if the business is to survive.

With that in mind, I headed off again to the AHDB Monitor Farm Conference in search of some solutions. I was not disappointed.

A most enjoyable and informative two days with excellent speakers and presentations. The ones that impressed me most were around why we farm in the first place, how we balance long working hours and limited returns with sufficient family life, and how to build resilience.

There are no easy or immediate answers but it is refreshing to meet other like-minded people who seem to live life in a more positive frame of mind. Take home catchphrase from NZ was: “Don’t waste a good crisis”!

I see in the Brexit championship they seem to be at six games all in the final set. Maybe by the time you read this, the PM will have lost her serve and will have to lift her game to stay in the match.

She appears to be resilient though, and as there is no tie-break, I suspect it could be a long match! Happy Christmas!