Farmer Focus: Prepping for harvest with a new combine

Hedgerows have burst into colour, fields are green and the sun is shining. Everything is a lot more positive and it’s a lot easier to find enthusiasm to do things – even BPS applications and its associated headaches.

May is mental health awareness month, which is fairly apt for the agricultural industry after the past few months of weather woes.

As an industry where workers are often isolated and independent, it is difficult to speak up and tell someone your troubles, or that you are not coping well. But it shouldn’t be – there are a host of people you can talk too; friends or family, or farming charities.

See also: Where farmers in need can find charity help

Often a simple phone call can be a huge relief, even if it only tells you that you’re not alone in having the worries or frustrations. I’ve had many conversations this spring with friends when the weather or lack of work progress has gotten too much either for myself or them. Things always seemed better after the call.

Drilling update

Spring drilling has taken place in relatively good conditions compared with what we thought they would be back in April.

Although later than I would have liked, I am very pleased with the results.

A few wet areas that are still like porridge have been left, but they are now home to a number of lapwing and skylark, so it isn’t all bad.

The main jobs to be doing while I eagerly await my first proper harvest will be yard and track improvements to aid logistics and make the place tidier. We also want to establish some pollen and nectar margins and wild bird feed plots.

Harvest will also be a big step, because after much deliberation I’ve bought my own combine. This completes the machinery line-up required to undertake whole-farm contracting and to offer a complete farming service, and will allow me to develop that side of the business in future.

Matt Redman operates a farming and agricultural contracting business specialising in crop spraying, Avadex application and direct drilling in Bedfordshire. He also grows cereals on a small area of tenancy land and was Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year in 2014.