Farmer Focus: Light sugar beet crop will not meet budget

It’s that time of year again when we can sit back and reflect on just what the year has delivered for us. Have all our efforts been rewarded? Have we managed to actually achieve anything of significance?

It’s certainly been a year of climatic extremes and, as always, a year of many challenges, but isn’t that what makes farming so enjoyable?

It would certainly be very boring if it was all the same. One of the highlights for me was being involved in the London Lord Mayor’s show in November, helping to take farming’s message to the streets of the capital, with significant help from a Massey Ferguson combine and tractor.

See also: How spraying bacteria can save on inputs and raise sugar beet yields

Well over half a million people lined the streets and got to see first-hand some of the phenomenal equipment and technology that we have at our disposal.

Together with support from Red Tractor, the NFU and the Surrey Docks City Farm, the Worshipful Company of Farmers put on a fantastic display that I was very proud to be part of.

Hearing the positive comments from bystanders around the route brought it home to me just how much farmers and what they produce are highly regarded. Let’s hope that they all continue to remember that when they are pushing their shopping trolleys around the supermarket.

Light crop

Out on the farm it’s still very dry. Sugar beet continue to be lifted in excellent conditions but unfortunately the open autumn hasn’t really bulked the crop as much as one would like.

Expectation of achieving our budgeted yield have long since gone and it’s now a matter of fingers crossed that the fields to be lifted in the new year will do better.

Winter ploughing, livestock fencing, logs, trees and general maintenance have been the order of the day, but it really is a struggle to achieve too much with the limited daylight.

I always find it frustrating how little we seem to manage to get done. Still, it’s a great time for everyone to catch up on a well-earned holiday after having worked so incredibly hard throughout the rest of the year. Thanks to them all for that.

I do hope that you have a great Christmas and that 2019 brings you all that you wish for… Who knows, we may even have a better direction on our futures.