Farmer Focus : Hendrik Visser 12/11/04

ALL OUR winter wheat was drilled by 20 October, which is very pleasing. Early drilling still gives the best outcome. Almost all our wheat is the variety Residence, but we have also drilled some Ilias, which had above average untreated yields in trials.

Harvesting of root celeriac for pre-packing began three weeks earlier than normal on Oct 25, when it reached its harvest weight of about 1kg. Normally, we have to wait until mid-November.

Lifting by our local contractor with a Holmer Terra Dos beet harvester has to be done very carefully, but the dry conditions have helped keep damage to a minimum. The machine”s rear wheels do not follow the front wheels, so compaction is spread over 3m, which results in easier and better ploughing and less deep compaction of the soil.

Quality and yield on the Brussels sprouts we are harvesting now looks good. But the price is definitely not good. Every hectare costs us money. With total areas down by 10% from last year, you would think prices would be better than last year, but they are even lower. What is causing this? Less consumption and supermarket price wars. The latter is bad news for growers. They will get their profit, but we pay for it.

I was discussing EurepGAP quality assurance and other registrations with a neighbouring grower. He said he feels more and more like a circus monkey, as they continually want him to learn new tricks. And as a reward he gets a piece of dry bread. I think he was right.

Yet as I look out of my window and see how beautifully the winter wheat is coming up I still think that farming is a great thing to do.