Farmer Focus: Leave farmers to decide what seed and how much

Our cereal harvest was finally finished in mid-September, which is late even for us northerners.

Wheat came in fairly well in the end, but the flat spring barley had shed quite a few heads before we got there and was an ordeal at times.

Thanks to Darren for bringing a Claas 7500 combine on demo: with two machines in harness, we made short work of it, once the sun came out.

See also: Crop Watch: Weed and disease fears for early-drilled wheat

Our own Claas Lexion had performed perfectly all season until that last weekend when it decided to spit a couple of bearings out. Luckily the Claas eastern team, who really are the gold standard for customer care, got us moving again sharpish.

Having recently experienced some unbelievably shocking service from John Lewis (the famous department store, that is), who I previously thought were up there with the best, it was nice to experience real old-fashioned service from the Sinderby workshop.

While we have managed to drill some winter barley into perfect conditions, let’s hope it’s not “groundhog day” now the weather has changed.

Talking of drilling, why do some seed companies decide they know best and deliver “several hectare” pack sizes?

Surely farmers know that date, soil conditions, weather and local knowledge all go into the mix when deciding just how much seed to sow? It really annoys me when the industry decides to prescribe what they think is best. Just leave us to decide.

Perhaps that’s an issue for Lee Bennett, the new MD of RAGT Seeds, to think about? Congratulations, by the way, Lee — I’m sure you’ll knock ‘em out of the park.

The excellent Saltburn monitor farm’s three years have come to an end. Where has the time gone?

I had to smile when I read this comment regarding soil condition by John Aynsley (who’s nobody’s fool) summarising his time as an AHDB monitor farmer: “We now don’t go into the field if we shouldn’t be there. That’s a tough discipline.”

If the rest of us are anything to go by, I’m sure the determination to stick by this mantra decreases as the rain gauge fills up.

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