Farmer Focus: Is battery-powered kit the future?

After all that hot, dry weather, the stop-start harvest continues up here in Ryedale – as it does elsewhere.

Barley crops seemed to have yielded well locally, but the quantity of straw has caused its own problems, especially when wet.

Trying to ted out 30ft of tangled barley straw and then rake it back up requires a skillset we, thankfully, don’t normally have to exercise.

See also: Analysis: Is electric technology set to kill off diesel tractors?

It was great to be able to start harvesting in good conditions, but that was short-lived, as the straw lay on the ground for what seemed an eternity.

We finally gathered it all in after triple tedding. Let’s hope the oilseed rape will be harvested too by the time you read this.

Electric power

Two of my sons have recently diversified into retailing Bergamont e-bikes. It’s amazing how battery technology has developed over the past few years.

I am certainly a convert and think electric power is the way forward. How long, I wonder, before we can buy electric farm machinery: battery-powered tractors, telehandlers and sprayers?

Even electric combines could be a practical proposition soon — always assuming the national grid can produce enough power!

The recent NFU Farm Safety Week campaign made me think about a recent Forklift training course I attended.

Just because you have done something for a long time, it doesn’t mean you’re doing it right — or safely. So it was great to have experienced “Trainer Tim” steadying me down and putting me right.

The course covered lots of surprising areas of telehandler use and was really informative and practical.

Ryedale Festival

July’s fortnight-long Ryedale Festival had another excellent year, promoting performing arts – from Purcell opera to book events and big bands.

The whole show was brought to an end with a gala performance by the Royal Northern Sinfonia orchestra.

As a recent convert to higher culture, this spectacle was as powerful to me as it was sensitive and subtle.

What really impressed me was the musicians’ technical brilliance, combined with the kind of team ethic any sports team would be proud of.