Farmer Focus: I have become a statistic of GPS crime

The pinch point of the year is upon us as we harvest the maize and turn it around into wheat.

Hybrid rye is going into lovely seed-beds and the rest of the farm is in cover crops.

The maize land has oats, berseem clover and phacelia, while the spring wheat has stubble turnips.

See also: How growers can help secure future of bentazone with web tool

September has been a kind month and allowed us to complete lots of outstanding jobs. Let’s hope the autumn continues on this theme and doesn’t repeat the pattern of the past few years.

Our liquid fertiliser is being delivered at present and with the latest news on fertiliser production hitting the headlines, I hope there will be enough to go around.

It really brings home how vulnerable we are to disruption in the food chain and how a few companies changing their production has a knock-on effect across the industry and beyond.

Everything is driven by supply and demand, and we must get better at protecting ourselves against these issues – just look at glyphosate this season…

Last month, we became a statistic of GPS crime, with one of the tractors being broken into and all the screens stolen.

What surprised me was the thief unplugged the plugs they could and cut the others – they didn’t just cut everything.

This was not an isolated incident, with other farms and a dealer all victims that night.

We have now installed CCTV and alarms in our buildings and put smart water on all removable objects across the estate.

This is on top of the trackers already installed in vehicles and has come at a considerable cost.

I cannot use my screens unless I have expensive unlock codes, yet the manufacturer cannot block a stolen unit.

The cynic in me would just say it was looking for another sale.

The police recommend that we unplug and take them out at night, but it is not safe for a person to be clambering around on top of the tractor at midnight to remove the dome. To do this safely, we would need a cherry picker.

The final part of the problem is that unless you have specific insurance, the screens and domes are not insured when out of the vehicles. Therefore, the only solution is for the manufacturers to make them obsolete when stolen.

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