Farmer Focus: Growing excitement for my first proper harvest

At the end of my article in January 2017 I said; “Here’s to a 2017 where science wins over politics, it rains just enough at the right time and the sun shines when we need it.”

Luckily, science did eventually win over politics when it came to glyphosate, but we still need to work on getting the correct weather when we want it.

With Brexit talks ongoing, fingers crossed that in 2018 some sensible decisions are made for the future of agriculture, trade and labour availability.

See also: Read more from our Arable Farmer Focus writers

These vital subjects need serious and well thought-out decisions sooner rather than later as farming businesses are already thinking, selling produce, looking to hire staff and making plans for after Brexit.

My first proper harvest

For me, 2018 is already looking busy, exciting and daunting as it will be my first proper harvest on my own farm.

I have done a very small area for a couple of years but only a few acres of wheat. This year I’ll have multiple crops, multiple combining days and limited storage to contend with along with all the other joys of harvest.

A dry spell for a week or so in January would be great to enable me to finish wheat drilling.

The combination drill has arrived and is ready and waiting, although if we have a good frost for a few days I will try to use the 750a to avoid disturbing too much soil and blackgrass.

Failing that, more spring barley, spring wheat or even some spring beans won’t be a bad thing.

I have also doubled sprayer capacity for 2018, with the addition of another 24/36m sprayer so that I can take on more spraying work.

This will also ensure that any additional work or the extra road miles moving to Cambridge has brought will not compromise timeliness and application accuracy.

New Year’s resolutions

Each year New Year’s resolutions are made. For 2018 every farming business should make improving health and safety one of theirs, and unlike other resolutions, not forget about it by the end of January.

2017 was a shocking year for farm safety, and there is no excuse. Get a specialist third party to come on farm and do a health and safety audit and act on the results.

I booked mine for the 4th January, when will you have yours?

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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