Farmer Focus: Is now the right time to buy new machinery?

What a difference a prolonged spell of dry weather makes to the farm and, indeed, my mood.

I don’t think I have ever known crops to go through their growth stages so quickly, so we have been very busy trying to keep up.

However, we made it and crops are looking reasonably well – apart from my oilseed rape, which is thin and patchy, mainly due to excessive wet weather since drilling.

See also: Read more from our arable Farmer Focus writers

Spring crops went in much later than I would have liked, but they seem to have hit the ground running and I am now feeling more positive about their prospects.

All this emphasises just how dependent our industry is on settled weather – I wonder if we can build that into our new agriculture policy?

On the lookout

I am writing this just before departing for Cereals 2018. It will be interesting to see how the event will have changed or improved under new management.

It will also be interesting to hear others’ views on how they think our industry will change after Brexit and how they will meet those challenges and opportunities.

I plan to use the show to learn, and hopefully discover new ideas and management approaches to make my business more competitive.

However, I am also aware that it is a huge shop window for machinery. This leaves me in a bit of a quandary as right now I am in the – maybe – enviable position that I own outright every piece of kit on the farm.

The problem is that, like me, it is all getting old and somewhat worn, it won’t last forever and will need replacing at some stage.

Do I want to spend hard-earned money on some shiny new machine while entering somewhat uncertain times?

On the other hand, new machines can sometimes make a business more competitive, so that is the dilemma we all have to face and the solution will often be different according to each individual business.

Maybe I’ll take the credit card anyway – but leave it in the car.