Farmer Focus: Hopeful for harvest game, set and match

This is the time of year that I always get a bit jittery, with butterflies in the stomach, as I wait to start harvest, which is about a week away.

I hope I have done all I needed to do to help crops achieve their potential, but the big unknown is what effect the weather has had.

Having watched two rather disappointing Wimbledon finals, I hope my harvest doesn’t end up with a similar result.

See also: Read more from our Arable Farmer Focus writers

I have fought my way through all the qualifying rounds successfully and now that we are at the final round, I don’t mind if it goes to five sets, even with a couple of tiebreaks, so long as I win in the end.

I badly need a decent harvest after the disappointment of last year. At least prices are holding up and there appears to be a good demand for straw.

Disappointing Cereals event

I attended Cereals this year and, as others have observed, noticed a drop in numbers of both attendees and exhibitors.

This is disappointing, as many consider it to be a useful event and I always seem to come away from it having learned something new or with ideas to try something different.

It would be a great pity, and a loss to our industry, to see it go into decline, particularly at such a challenging time.

I was somewhat shocked to learn what some of the exhibitors are being asked to pay for what is, after all, a patch in the middle of a field. I can’t help but feel that someone is profiteering disproportionately from the whole event.

I was impressed though by the AHDB stand, which again had a lot of useful information and food for thought.

I am now working my way through the various questions posed on the boards to see if I can “Brexit-proof” my business and am somewhat concerned at some of the answers I am coming up with.

However, at least it looks as if we may have another five years of current support to allow the industry time to adjust to a new and probably more challenging – but hopefully sustainable – UK agricultural policy.  

Robert Moore farms on the Molenan Estate in Northern Ireland, where his family have farmed for more than 200 years. He switched to arable production in the late 1990s, away from beef and sheep. He still has a small suckler herd on non-suitable arable land.

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