Farmer Focus: Plans to grow more novel organic crops

I finished my last Farmer Focus column with the question, “After the last two wet autumns, it’s really unlikely that we’d get a third one in a row, isn’t it?” Although the office desk from which I wrote that sentence looks like wood, it is actually surfaced with a wood-like laminate. Need I say more.

However, the rains have abated and with all our autumn cereals sown, plus 5ha of winter peas, our attention has turned to sowing our wheat and bean bicrop. We are sowing at 75% of the intended rate of both crops, with Vespa beans at 125kg/ha and a blend of Extase and Siskin wheat at 150kg/ha giving a total overall seed rate of 275kg/ha. 

See also: How one Devon farmer is succeeding with strip-till maize

We harvested our chia on 14 October, which was a surprisingly painless operation. The seed is minuscule, so I had to put a carpet of hessian down on our ventilated grain store to stop it falling through the drying floor.

We’ve pretty much got it down to 8% moisture and so it needs a quick clean before it goes to Fairking for processing. I’m planning more novel crops for this spring to get off the organic commodity treadmill.

A few articles ago, I mentioned that we were doing a Swot (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis of our business.

One of our weaknesses is we are very low on administrative help. I remember my grandfather having a diary, an address book and receiving a book of total lorry loads of the various crops from different fields at harvest time. That’s it. 

We are overburdened by records and data with no available time to work out what’s valuable and what’s bureaucratic nonsense.

We are diligent about recoding the wind direction after every field operation, but do we really understand where the wind is blowing?

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