Neil Thomson’s combine has a bad dose of indigestion

Bump! That was the feeling when I came back down to earth after having been on our holiday.

Often I return home eager to get on with the graft, but the feeling just wasn’t there this year. The struggle against the weather had been a strain on those left here, so there was no prospect of looking at some thriving crops on my return. I left you last month with a plea to someone above for some sun in August, but instead we get another 100mm deluge over the first weekend of the month.

Like many, we have been forced to apply a T4 spay to the Viscount wheat. Hopefully this will check the fusarium that is running rife throughout the area, but there is nothing we can do to create more pods on the beans or fill the blank grain sites in the spring barley.

A ray of sunshine beamed down in the dying days of July and all the combines in the area sprung into action as if they had been let off the leash, hungrily devouring the meagre portions of winter barley that has been delivered. I watched ours for a while, but it looked like it had a bad dose of indigestion, thanks to the massive volume of straw.

On a more encouraging note, we have been awarded a grant to develop our vegetable growing operation. So we are in the process of constructing a cold store on the farm at the moment, a building that will give us a lot more flexibility at harvest time by being able to store perishable produce for a critical few days.

Much amusement has been caused in the area as my father, in full view of all the construction boys, drove headfirst into one of the foundation holes. Nothing except his pride was damaged. What nobody knows until now is that I did exactly the same thing a few days later. Have I really just admitted that to all of you?

Neil Thomson farms 607ha in partnership with his father and brother from Caverton Mill, Kelso, on the Scottish Borders, growing combinable crops and brassicas. Some of the mainly medium loam is let for potatoes, and the farm also has cattle and sheep.

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