Farmer Focus: Pointless features do not make a good tractor

With the increasing Brexit turmoil, it is unclear if we will have the same prime minister by the time this article is printed. I hope we do, as a change is unlikely to make the situation any better, only causing further uncertainty and changing the points of disagreement.

It is impossible for everyone to be satisfied with the outcome, given that even those who voted the same cannot agree.

The continuing uncertainty has focused my decision-making on grain sales and we are now virtually fully sold on the 2018 crop and have taken significant cover on harvest 2019 sales, including locking in some wheat futures as a base price for spring malting barley.

See also: Sussex wheat grower plans for life without neonic dressings

It is concerning to see that even though grain and oil prices have been falling for some time, the price of fertiliser continues to rise month on month.

This will significantly affect the margin of any crops where the fertiliser has yet to be purchased.

Final decisions

We have now demonstrated a variety of tractors and all have some good points, but no one machine shares them all.

While there is no doubt that design and technology have made things more efficient and improved the cab environment, there seems to be a tendency to add features just because it is possible, rather than because there is a benefit.

To me, the idea that you can electronically muddle up all the spool valve controls is a recipe for disaster when the next operator gets on.

We are now at the stage of confirming tyre choice and getting prices finalised so we can make a decision and place the order for delivery in the spring.

The continued dry conditions have given a great chance to get lime applied and keep going with the ploughing.

The more that is done now, the less pressure there is to get it completed in the spring and the more the winter weather can help to create a seed-bed.