Farmer Focus: Red Tractor – the good, the bad and the ugly

There has been a lot of noise about the current Red Tractor consultation since it was released, with a lot of opinions and criticisms being thrown around, although there is a fair mix of the good, the bad and the ugly.

While I am not a fan of all the elements of Red Tractor, the need for a basic level of farm assurance and auditing is, I think, a necessity to show that we are farming to the basic standards set out for us by law and best practice. Otherwise there is no easy proof we are doing this.

There is a limit to how far this should go, what should and what shouldn’t be covered. There is a definite need for improvement to scheme delivery, auditing and marketing.

See also: How to maximise spring oats for healthier returns

The unfortunate truth is we live in a world where audits and assurance schemes are the norm for almost every industry, whether we like it or not.

The weather over Christmas was in the true spirit of the season and delivered an early present of about 40mm of rain one night, which resulted in a lot of water standing on fields.

Neighbours who have farmed around here for 40 years said they had not seen anything like this before and the local drainage boards had a busy and stressful few days manning the pumps to get the water away.

I’m told it was a close run, with water levels and broken pumps at some points, but they managed it; so well done and thank you to them.

Operation Tidy Up and Organise is fully under way around the yard at the moment. I’m amazed at just how much extra stuff I’ve accumulated since moving into the farm three years ago.

It’s made me realise how I underestimated the infrastructure element of taking on the farm.

Storage for parts, tools and the “this will be useful sometime” items soon adds up.

This doesn’t include space to keep it all locked away safely. If the job isn’t done properly, time and money can soon be wasted.

January will be a busy month. We will be getting some more ditching and drain repairs done, concreting and hopefully finishing harvest by getting the sugar beet lifted. Who knows, there might even be an opportunity to get some drilling done?

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