Heavy land hit hardest by 2012 season

A survey of about 100 farmers in Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Essex showed heavy land suffered worst in 2012, with wheat yields down by 13% on 2009, seen as the last “normal” year by accountant Hardcastle Burton.

The survey covered about 20,000ha and most growers included would still make a profit but quality discounts would eat into the predicted gross output of £1,255/ha, said the firm’s Jonathan Tulloch. Output predictions for the survey were made in the second week of September before the scale of the specific weights issue was known.

Inflation across all farm costs fell to about 2% for the 2012 growing season but this came on top of a 13% rise the previous year. For most this will be the most expensive crop ever grown, following poor blackgrass control last autumn and high plant disease levels this spring.

Despite the challenging conditions of this year’s harvest, Mr Tulloch was optimistic about the next 10 years in farming.

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