Farmer Focus: Rain adds to double-inspection frustration

Every year, we make a concerted effort to get ready for harvest earlier, but every year harvest gets earlier, and so we found that, yet again, we were slow out of the blocks.

The first piece of winter barley we went into was at 13% moisture; if we had started a week earlier, we would have got it shovelled up before the weather broke in Yorkshire Show week.

See also: Red Tractor hits back after pollution claims

About the author

Doug Dear
Livestock Farmer Focus writer
Doug Dear farms 566ha (1,400 acres) of arable land growing wheat, spring and winter barley, maize and oilseed rape and runs a custom feedyard, contract-finishing about 2,400 cattle a year near Selby, North Yorkshire. Most cattle are finished over 90-120 days for nine deadweight outlets, as well as Selby and Thirsk markets.
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I was properly kicking myself after that as we grabbed bits between showers.

The straw is like old rope and marginally too wet to bale, but I need the ground cleared to get the muck on and the oilseed rape drilled.

Beef trade has dropped off a bit. Beef is cheaper in Ireland than it is here and there is the usual drop in demand at this time of year, which is adding to the downward trend in pricing.

Looking forward, the cattle numbers aren’t out there, so this will tighten supply and pick the fat price up (surely?).

Another audit

Let’s for now say that Red Tractor is a necessary evil, and without it we have no traceability or customer assurance.

Yet Tesco has the audacity to question Red Tractor and put me through another audit via the processor. It absolutely makes my blood boil.

The processor can’t say “no” for fear of losing their contract, and the farmer can’t say “no “(even though it was on the tip of my tongue to tell them to stick it) because they don’t want to lose their contract with the processor.

It beggars belief that our gold standard assurance is questioned. Since when was Red Tractor overruled by Tesco?

I’d like to know who’s running the show. I absolutely haven’t the time or the patience to be doing assurance twice.

By-election

Our local MP has resigned, so at the time of writing we are having a by-election.

I have had a million leaflets through the door promoting hopefuls ranging from the beardy, wooly-hat candidate wearing green to an artificial-intelligence-powered politician.

Out of all of them, there is not one I would want to vote for. It’s time to copy the Dutch and take a leaf out of the book of the Farmer-Citizen Movement.