Martin Lawrenson ponders the credit crunch

Martin Lawrenson farms 146ha (360 acres) of mainly peat land with his father at Northwoods Farm, Pilling in Lancashire growing cereals, potatoes, oilseed rape and grass for horse hay and haylage. He also has pigs, poultry and beef cattle.

Apparently, we are in the middle of a credit crunch. No, it isn’t a new breakfast cereal or what happens when you come in late from the pub a bit tipsy and try kissing the wife.

According to a financial guru on the news, banks now think that maybe it wasn’t a good idea to lend money to people when there was no guarantee that they could afford to pay it back. What a genius.

Most sensible people I know have said for months if not years that all this easy credit would eventually end with a bang.

But when you think about it, many farmers have relied on banks doing just that for years. How many of us have bought machinery or land on a “buy now pay later” basis hoping we would be able to afford it when the time came to cough up the money?

Winter barley sowing is at last under way. Westminster did well last year and Riviera is a consistent for us, even though it is an older variety. Its decent yields are complemented by good straw and standing ability.

Oxbridge is new to us and I can’t say that the decision to try it was any more complicated than the fact that it was available for delivery when we needed it.

Potato ground is at last starting to dry and we shall apply manures shortly, ready for ploughing immediately afterwards. Hopefully, we should get the first seed in the ground shortly.

We are also starting to think about moving some of our stored wheat and barley. We have only sold two loads so far this year and the stores are still almost full. Fingers-crossed our usual sales strategy of selling when we feel like it will pay off this year.

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