Farmer Focus: Over-regulated to the point of undersupply?

I’m guessing as you read this, the true cost of  “flaming June” and the continuing heatwave can already be seen in the grain shed.

On the whole, our crops have held on through June really well – spring beans and maize seem to love the warm, bright conditions.

Our cereal crops only started showing signs of drought a couple of weeks into July.

See also: Harvest 2018: Growers struggle to keep OSR from drying out

The grass has been well burned off and I’m sure some areas of the UK will be having a fodder shortage, with many farmers feeding first-cut silage to supplement non-existent grazing. 

How to reach end-users?

Looking back to June, Cereals 2018 was, for me, a strange affair. Stripped down and more affordable for all – but with lots of big names absent, you have to question the value of attending an event like this.

On the other hand, there are so many smaller companies selling brilliant, innovative products – especially for sprayers – and I’m not sure how they would reach end users without farming events such as these. Social media maybe?

The AHDB Recommended List trials always throw up more questions than answers.

I’m not sure of the relevance of all these listed varieties – which for the purpose of the trials are all drilled and harvested on the same days.

That doesn’t reflect the very varied requirements and soil conditions of UK farms, so I’m just not sure what we learn from them.

A recent Lee Bennett guided tour for Openfield would suggest a lot of chaff can be pushed aside to get to the real answers.

Undersupply?

I thought Jim Orson (Niab) hit the nail squarely on the head with his recent blog.

Will this season provide a very necessary reality check for food chain supply? And has UK agriculture been over-regulated to the point of undersupply in a dry year?

Recent drum banging down in Westminster suggested Mrs May has finally come up with a brilliant formula for Brexit.

But the more I read of it, the more I wonder if we’re leaving the EU at all – despite the referendum vote.

One thing’s for sure, the UK is still a big market for the rest of Europe to sell into, and it doesn’t feel like we’re playing that card to our advantage at all.