Lightning strike for Bill Davey

Bill Davey – a former Lincolnshire farmer – emigrated to New Zealand six years ago. He grows a range of crops including wheat, barley and vining peas and fattens store lambs on 487ha (1200 acres) of the Canterbury Plains on South Island

Lightning struck the weighbridge just metres from our house during the night on 1 April, causing electrical mayhem.

We thought things were back to normal once the power board had checked things out, until we realised that the load cells had been obliterated.

This has caused a delay in harvesting 18ha of maize silage while we wait for parts to be sourced. I hope they’re not in the hands of DHL’s Worldwide Express service.

It looks as though we have been able to keep up with the crop’s insatiable demand for water and are hoping for 20+t/ha of dry matter.

Flour millers have just released prices and contracts for next year’s wheat.

Today 12.5% protein wheat is worth $520/t (£210/t), so the $438 (£175) on offer for the 2009 crop does little to excite.

My own feelings are that if Australia just happens to have a good harvest and, given the huge area of wheat being sown here, it may be prudent to lock in some tonnage around $450 (£180) if achievable.

Meanwhile, we hear of a new strain of a serious fungal disease in wheat wiping out crops across Africa and Asia. It is feared that it will spread to other parts of the world and as yet no way of controlling it has been found.

If not contained, this could see wheat values soar to unprecedented levels, so forward selling may not be the answer.

March has been the month to catch salmon here in the Rakaia river, and what a thrill it was for Nick and I to land a fish each one evening last week.

As we walked back to the boat carrying our trophies it made me realise how fortunate we were to live in such an unspoiled part of the world.

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