Writing this article couldn`t be more different from the one that was written a year ago.
The wheat had received a really robust T0 to control yellow rust, the rape was at yellow-bud stage, with pollen beetle needing controlling and irrigators flat out on onions. The latter I do not mind. This spring, the wheat is blue with patches of purple blackgrass, the rape hasn’t even started moving and the irrigators are in the back of the shed.
A real boost for the spirits is seeing the first tranche of spring wheat drilling finally starting to emerge, six weeks after being planted. I just hope it’s not that long for the second phase of drilling.
Spring rape is being planted where winter crops failed now that soil temperatures have at last started to rise. Single farm payment forms have at least all been gone through and completed in good time.
A real bugbear of mine is manufacturer honesty. How often have you heard the phrase “that’s the first problem like that we have encountered” or “we have never had that before”?
During the recent cold weather we have had real problems with certain machines failing to start in the morning. If the 10-year-old one will start, then why won’t the more technologically advanced two-year-old one? I have never seen so many replacement batteries stacked in the workshop. When you are trying to take advantage of frosty mornings, there is nothing more annoying.
The beauty of social media and especially #clubhectare on Twitter is that you are never too far away from finding others who have experienced similar problems. I urge all machinery manufacturers and dealers to come clean with problems and service updates, because I am afraid you will soon be rumbled.
Jon Parker manages 1,500ha, near Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, on a medium to heavy land, for Ragley Home Farms, predominantly arable growing wheat, oilseed rape, and salad onions. There is also a beef fattening unit and sheep flock.