Farmer Focus: Rain plays havoc with daffodil bulb lifting

We are in a muddle. Continuous showers during the second half of June have put our daffodil bulb lifting programme well behind.

Rather than lift the varieties in the planned order, we have been forced to lift anything where we can get on.

At the moment we are about 10 days behind, but working hard to catch up. The bulb export deadlines are fairly inflexible and need to be met.

See also: Read more from our Arable Farmer Focus writers

The one advantage, if you can call it that, of having frequent weather interruptions while we have seasonal labour living onsite is that the yards and buildings are as clean and tidy as I have seen them for a long time.

This year I am filling my additional summer labour requirements by using a mix of Bulgarian and English agricultural students.

It is early days, but the signs are that we could potentially have a vintage team this year.

While on the subject of muddles, I do have to admit to being surprised by the outcome of the EU referendum, as it seems most of the political establishment were.

It is now a case of getting on with it. Inevitably there will be significant challenges to grapple with and, one hopes, opportunities as well.

What will be important is that the agricultural industry maintains a strong, coherent voice. The EU countries together had a combined strong rural presence.

Will that remain the case for the United Kingdom, assuming it stays together?

During the referendum week I had the marvellous opportunity to judge two farm competitions and I was heartened by what I saw.

The first was the Somerset Centre of Management in Agriculture (CMA) farm management competition, which demonstrated some brilliant examples of best practice within that county.

The second was the Farmers Weekly Speciality Crop Producer of the Year award. The three finalists were all outstanding in their own way. Unfortunately they will have to wait until October to find out the result!

I came away thinking there is a bright future for the agricultural industry. There are a good number of innovators out there who can take advantage of the circumstances they find themselves in and are not put off by knocks along the way.

Here’s to a bright new future.


Jeremy Oatey manages 1,200ha of arable land near Plymouth in Cornwall and is 2013 Farmers Weekly Arable Farmer of the Year. Cropping includes wheat, barley, OSR, oats, beans, potatoes, onions, swedes and daffodils.

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