Farmer Focus : Bill Davey 11/02/05

HARVEST IS well under way and I am taking advantage of a heavy dew to write.

All our grass seeds and well over half the barley are in store and we have nibbled at some not quite fit milling wheat on dry land.

For once I feel we are fully in charge due to the sheer capacity of our new Claas Lexion 580.

One has to be re-educated to operate such technology to maximum effect. I have never known a combine cut and deliver crop to the threshing cylinder so efficiently.

Silos are filling to expectations, but I am reluctant to talk yields until all is safely in. But good bushel weights and relatively low screenings are most encouraging.

Fifteen hundred store lambs arrive next week from North Canterbury and will receive the mandatory cobalt injection and a selenium-based oral drench. They will also be spray jetted to combat fly strike.

Moving large mobs of lambs on the public highway can be traumatic during the tourist high season.

Based on recent experience, on which I would rather not elaborate, I strongly urge the Korean DVLA to include an ‘encountering large mobs of sheep on the public highway’ category in its highway code.

This year’s harvest is our fourth in New Zealand and we have been fortunate enough to recruit another fully competent and pleasant young English farmer’s son.

He will assist Nick and me from January to the end of June, which will also cover autumn drilling.

The chronic shortage of skilled agricultural workers here leaves us little choice but to import our own. It seems a growing trend among farmers and contractors alike.

Sadly, these young men appear totally disillusioned by what British agriculture has to offer them as a career.

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