Farmer Focus: Gear up for mass spring barley drilling

With the machinery all well and truly checked, washed and rechecked, hopefully the start of spring work will be just around the corner, and it will be significantly drier than last year.

Early indications suggest there will be a massive increase in the area of barley being drilled this spring, which will keep everyone suitably eager to get on – with a combination of failed oilseed rape and blackgrass control being the main reasons, no doubt.

I also have a small area of sugar beet to look after with the sprayer this year, which will be different to the usual combinable crops.

It will be an interesting change as it has been a while since I have had anything to do with the crop.

See also: Read more from our Arable Farmer Focus writers

Until spring arrives it is the season for training days; agronomy trails results meetings and conferences. It wouldn’t be hard to go to something different every day if other work didn’t get in the way.

I’m looking forward to the NFU conference at the end of the month. It is always a great couple of days with some very interesting speakers and breakout sessions.

It’s fairly obvious that Brexit will feature heavily and a hot topic of conversation is bound to be what is going on in America and the talk of a US-UK trade deal.

The upcoming renewal date, again, for glyphosate this year should also feature.

Danish Lamma

Back in December last year I joined other National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) members on a trip to the Agromek show in Denmark.

It is essentially the Danish version of Lamma, only it was all indoors and had a show opening party for 1,200 people with live music, a four-course meal and plenty of liquid refreshments.

A huge thanks must go to HeVa for inviting us along as its guests. As part of the trip we also visited a number of Danish contractors to see how they run their businesses and the challenges they face.

It was an eye-opening experience to see the size and scale of some of their operations – 300hp tractors and tri-axle trailers and tankers were the norm – anything smaller was frowned upon! But with a 50t gross weight limit on the roads, they are well ahead of us.

Matt Redman operates a farming and agricultural contracting business specialising in crop spraying, Avadex application and direct drilling in Bedfordshire. He also grows cereals on a small area of tenancy land and was Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year in 2014.

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