Farmer Focus: ‘Regeners’ might tut at my worm bashing

The clouds didn’t leak much in September, so we really pushed on with autumn drilling.

By the end of September, we were about three-quarters of the way through our 480ha (1,186 acre) target.

Our thinking last month was “yes, it’s dry”, and we are testing the residual strength of our pre-emergence chemicals and herbicides, but I would rather live with a bit of blackgrass than have a repeat of the non-existent 2019 drilling campaign.

See also: 20 years of regenerative agriculture: One farm’s success story

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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This season we have scaled up our equipment and we are working in multiples of 6m, which has drastically increased work rates, combined cumulatively with about a 1,000 horsepower.

I can hear the “regeners” tutting at this adaptive till approach, but it works, and works well for us. There is some serious “worm bashing”, at 5ha/hour (12.3 acres/hour), 40ha/day (98acres/day). Tally-ho and home for tea.

Cattle trade has not abated, and demand is resolute. Our feedlot usually has a quiet period over harvest, but this has not been the case this year, and we have been running at 90% capacity.

Now the cattle are coming in off grass we have no spare capacity, and so begins the task of juggling the entries with the exits.

This has been made more difficult as the processors are running out of staff, just like the rest of us.

We are a hand down at the moment and struggling to recruit. I don’t understand where everybody has gone.

By my reckoning, there are 2.5 million unemployed people out there. Surely one of them wants a job, or is it too easy to sit at home watching daytime telly on the welfare state?

With two daughters wanting to become involved in the industry, it is pleasing to see that there is a trend to more equality in the work force, in what is still a male-dominated environment.

It’s a real “Rosie the Riveter” moment now. Rosie was the iconic young lady on the posters in the Second World War with her sleeves rolled up, showing how important women were in the war effort as “male” jobs needed doing while men joined the military.

Fast-forward to today and there is currently a huge vacuum in the employment sector.