Farmer Focus: Harvest disappointment as buyer imports crops

It is always satisfying to finish harvest just as it starts to rain, and that is exactly what happened here at Shimpling Park Farm on 2 September.

Looking at the initial estimates from our harvester’s yield log, I think we will actually be about 25% down on our budgeted tonnage across all crops.

To add insult to injury, our feed wheat, beans and barley buyer of the past 10 years just announced it has imported all its requirements until Christmas and is now offering us a price in January of about 10% less than originally indicated earlier in the year, which has left a bit of a sour taste in the mouth. 

See also: Harvest 2020: Combines almost finished in a harvest to forget

On a positive note, my whinge about bean breeders in my last submission drew an email from the British Society of Plant Breeders through PGRO to meet and discuss what UK breeders have been doing with regards to ongoing improvement to the UK crop. I am very pleased about that.

With the memory of last year’s unprecedented weather and subsequent poor harvest, I, like many other farmers in East Anglia, have started sowing our autumn crops early.

Our spelt is already in the ground and we are currently sowing winter wheat. We have a six-way mix of varieties this year, using seed we were unable to get into the ground last autumn. 

Although it’s not good organic practice to sow in September, I feel our System Cameleon inter-row hoe is able to deal with autumn weeds before Christmas, and we have our 1,000 Romney ewes to deal with lush or diseased crop leaves, if necessary. 

We now have better tools in our box to deal with early drilling issues than we had in the past.


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