Veg planting frustrates Neil Thomson

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 and is let for potatoes, and the QMS Monitor Farm also has cattle and sheep

Vegetable planting tends to be when my frustration becomes all too palpable. The planter’s progress is governed by the abilities of the three people sitting and feeding the plants into the cups. It looks easy, and from my point of view, it is – until I try to show them how to do it, when suddenly I’m all fingers and thumbs.

Now I try to watch from a distance cursing, first at their apparent lack of speed, and second, at the rabbits eating the succulent plants as fast as we can plant them. The pests’ population has exploded and I am determined to control them.

Ground conditions were excellent but I worried about a constant stiff breeze siphoning away any moisture. I can’t complain, though, as we gathered the driest first cut of silage we have had for a while and refreshing rain since then has done the world of good. This farm is mostly a sandpit and timely, frequent rain, is essential for a good harvest.

I know farmers can be demanding because I ask for this and then also for a dry spell to get the final cereal fungicides applied so I can enjoy a couple of days at the Royal Highland Show.

I have been selling wheat straw to. Holland! I was told by the driver to cram as many bales into a curtain-sider lorry as possible, making it look like a bloated cow.

I’m very happy with the price, though my back-of-envelope calculations suggest it must be costing the Dutchman a bucket-load – and even my limited understanding of economics cannot get my head around this trade.

I haven’t ascertained what exactly the straw will be used for, but if there’s a way of turning it into gold I want to find out about it.

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