Farmer Focus: Search for harvest student has come up trumps

Wow, what tremendous growth we have seen in our crops recently. The sprayer doesn’t know what has hit it, with T2 fungicides following T1 very rapidly – just a two-week interval in places as the flag leaf showed itself at the usual mid-May timing.

Some might argue that we could have omitted the T0, or the T1, and cut down the fungicide spend. It is such a gamble taking that approach though. We just can’t predict the weather two weeks ahead.

You only need a week of rain, or high winds, or very warm weather to reduce spray opportunities.

See also: Tips on how to recruit good arable farm staff

The spring barley, naked oats and millet went in the ground in good conditions. As predicted the spring beans didn’t go in, a phacelia cover crop taking their place.

Since this is by a public footpath, signs will tell walkers what we are up to and will highlight the benefits of the phacelia to wildlife, which they should see for themselves when it is buzzing with bees.

Harvest student

It is quite uncanny how I regularly find myself doing the flag leaf spray in the week leading up to the Essex Young Farmers Show while Hew is up at the showground helping set things out.

What a show it was too. Run entirely by the members, it attracted over 15,000 visitors, drawing in the whole farming community, but also attracting the wider population too.

There is a real interest in country sports, food and farming which Essex Young Farmers have tapped in to.

I have been blown away by the quality of young people that we have met recently in the search for a harvest student.

There are some seriously dedicated people out there eager to get on the UK farming ladder. With the right encouragement and support they will flourish and then start to teach you things.

We would have been happy to have any of them join us, but it is Harry who we will be welcoming to the farm for the summer.


Christy Willett farms with her son Hew on 475ha at Parklands Farm, Galleywood in Essex, growing combinable crops alongside diversifications into horse stables on DIY livery, industrial and office lets. Christy and Hew are also AHDB Chelmsford Monitor Farmers.