Farmer Focus Arable: Martin Lawrenson’s planning for 2010

As we head towards Christmas and the New Year thoughts inevitably turn towards planning for next year.


Fertiliser merchants are ringing almost daily telling me that I must buy now to avoid the price rises that are on their way, so I suppose I must look at what we are going to need.

With grain and potato prices at current levels, it is hard to get excited about the prospect of spending a large chunk of money, even though I know that there isn’t really any other option.

With our new poultry unit up and running we will have quite a large quantity of good quality litter, along with our usual manure from the beef unit, and it will be important to utilise this to its full potential.

Potatoes are slow to move and we have been discussing whether we should grow fewer next year. It is a crop which has always had good potential but the years when we used to have a real good return seem to get further and further apart.

Rented land could be cut, but there is always the suspicion that it would be a backwards step and that it is bound to be a bumper year if we do cut back.

The terrible weather we had in November caused some flood damage to our winter cereals, but nothing compared with what farmers and householders up the road in the Lake District have had to contend with. We had 1.5in of rain at the same time and it felt like the heavens had opened, so it is hard to comprehend what a foot of rainfall is like in 24 hrs.

It reminds us that no matter how bad things seem there is always someone worse off.

To read more from Martin Lawrenson click here. Or see our other Farmer Focus Arable writers here.