Philip Bradshaw gets up to speed with grain marketing

We have had a good run of sugar beet being delivered to the Wissington factory in January and it looks like we are just going a little over quota, which is pleasing. The crop had many setbacks this season, and sugar percentages are dropping in the clamp due to the mild Christmas period, but I still hope to exceeed 70t/ha adjusted yield.

This will make it one of our better crops for harvest 2012, largely due to the below-average yields of our other crops, and unfortunately the effect of carting beet through a very wet season has been nothing short of catastrophic on a few parts of our farm roadways!

A recent break in the weather with light overnight frosts allowed me to finish off some small spraying jobs with mixed success, and I have also dragged my old Blench pigtail tine cultivator out of the nettles to level off some heavy areas of winter ploughing.

This trusty cultivator is nearly as old as I am, and with the addition of a second-hand coil packer is a useful tool for occasional jobs, although the fact that it is only 3m wide does make it a slow operation.

Unfortunately, I have again missed the Lamma show this year, this time due to my decision to attend a grain marketing training course. Over the past 10 years I have invested many hours learning more about the art of crop growing, and this will continue. However, I believe that I also need to put some effort into maintaining and improving my other business management skills, including crop marketing.

We again enjoyed the recent annual Straw Bear Festival here in Whittlesey, including an excellent Saturday seeing so many people enjoying the chilly carnival atmosphere around the town.

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