James Hosking

6 March 1998

James Hosking

James Hosking farms 516ha

(1275 acres) with his

parents and brother at

Fentongollan, Tresillian,

Truro, Cornwall. Land is

equally split between share

farming, various FBTs and a

tenancy. Crops include

wheat, oats, barley and

daffodils, alongside sheep

and cattle enterprises

DAFFODILS have dominated the past month, the warm weather having brought them on quickly.

With about 130 people picking we have just about kept on top of the crop, harvesting superb quality. We market our own flowers mostly in this country, with some sent for export to Holland.

The price we receive is dictated purely by supply and demand. Unfortunately the early spring across the whole country has destroyed our normal climatic advantage. All the main daffodil regions have been picking, which has resulted in a heavily oversupplied market and low prices.

I do not think I can ever remember getting most of our crop picked in dry weather before. But the unusually dry February has made it a much more pleasant job for everyone.

It has also meant we have not had one of our usual headaches at thios time of year – mud on the roads from the tractors hauling the flowers out of fields. Even in this very rural area the public are becoming increasingly intolerant at this time of year.

We also provide a mail order service for "daffodils by post" at this time of year. As Mothering Sunday approaches, our phones and fax are starting to get busy; daffodils are a popular present for this occasion.

Nitrogen was applied to all the grass in mid-February to get it growing. But we have held off the winter cereals, because they were all well tillered and looking green. Only now have we started applying fertilser as 125kg/ha of 30%N, 19%SO3 Sulphan.

Our first lambs, which are marketed through the Cornish Quality Lamb group, have just been sold. The base price was £2.55/kg, poor compared with last year, but better than we feared. &#42

Daffodil harvest got off to a fast start at Fentongollan. But early conditions elsewhere in the UK have hit prices, says James Hosking.

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