New water rule proposals wind up Neil Thomson

After much deliberation and arguments, we finally made our decision on which drill to buy. So perhaps after all the heartache, have we taken the easy option by sticking with what we know, that is, buying another, albeit bigger, power harrow/drill combination?

As I explained last month, we faced the choice of three different systems, but ultimately I feel we have gone for the one that is the most versatile and I think will work out the cheapest per hectare.

All these discussions would be completely futile if proposed amendments to rules governing the water environment in river basins in Scotland become law. These would prevent application of any types of fertiliser to slopes exceeding 12 degrees. I might as well have cancelled the drill order, because I would not have a farm to farm on. I see now we have been reassured that it’s not that bad, but it did get me wound up a bit.

On a more positive note, all our crops have benefited from a good drink, and despite the cooler weather I feel most fields are looking good. I was concerned that our choice of urea for the main dose of nitrogen on the wheat was a bad one, thanks to the very warm weather in March, but I don’t think much will have volatilised. But I am not sure the weather, now that it has turned considerably cooler, has suited some oilseed rape crops in the Borders area, as they do not look particularly well at the moment.

It was great to have a return visit of some students from Gurteen College in Ireland recently. They arrived in the morning all full of “joie de vivre” before going to see Robert Neill, and then on to Edinburgh for a night out. I can only imagine how responsive they were the following day visiting fellow Farmer Focus (livestock) writer Charlie Armstrong’s farm!

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