Bill Harbour

5 December 1997

Bill Harbour

Bill Harbour, this years

southern barometer farmer,

is manager for Gosmere

Farm Partners at 448ha

(1107-acre) Gosmere Farm,

Sheldwich, Faversham,

Kent. Crops include wheat,

barley, oilseed rape, peas

and beans plus

cherries under Countryside

Steward scheme


NOVEMBER gave us 97mm (3.8in) of rain, which although very welcome has slowed us up a bit. We hope to complete bean drilling this week and have only just finished cereal spraying.

The last two fields were full of self-sown beans so CMPP was added to the Trump (IPU + pendimethalin). I got a good deal on the Trump in 25-litre Ecomatic packs and plan to use a Novartis Linkpak next year too.

Last week we moved our 500t of feed wheat which was sold to Glencore in July at £80/t. Hauliers we know from Suffolk used clean, new wagons with on-board weighers to shift 250t. The other 250t was subbed out and we had some tatty wagons from the West Country. They had been hauling either clay from Cornwall or coal from Wales and were told to wash out or leave the farm. In future I will not be so kind, charging £5/t for washing, or better still not allowing them on the farm.

As members of Weald Granary we shall join the Assured Combinable Crops Scheme, along with 487 other growers from Kent to Dorset who are in grain groups run by SCATS.

If you read the scheme manual it is only good practice and compliance to various Acts and codes of practice. Farmers should be grateful we have sensible practical growers like Jonathan Tipples in the ACCS working group.

As a producer of human consumption peas, seed peas and beans, milling wheat and other crops, I will be pleased to get QA. It will allow me to grow what I like and sell to who I want, and not be tied to a merchant who says I will not buy your crops unless you buy my seed, fertiliser, spray and agronomy advice, which is what might have happened.n

The assured combinable crops scheme looks useful, says Bill Harbour. But some hauliers will have to sharpen up their act.

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