James Hosking farms 516ha
(1275 acres) with his
parents and brother at
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
WHEN I last wrote in farmers weekly, we had just finished picking daffodils, were nicely up to date with spraying and fertilising, and spring drilling was about to start. Thanks to the vagaries of our weather, four weeks later we are still in the same position.
We have scraped a couple of days drilling, only half a day spraying, and bit of ploughing. With another wet week forecast at the time of writing, we are starting to get a little anxious. Apart from lack of timeliness, losing a month at this time of year will take a lot of catching up. When we do get going we will have to work out our priorities, especially for the sprayer.
Spring arable cropping is normally kept as simple as possible. But in light of the likely margins, we decided it would be best to spread our risk this year. The plan is to sow Rex peas, Starlight oilseed rape, and Antares linseed. Unfortunately, out of 102ha (252 acres) of spring crops, only 20ha (49 acres) of rape has been drilled, and that is still to emerge.
On ineligible ground we will be growing Laura flax on contract for the Industrial Crop Partnership. This organisation has won a grant to build a processing factory at Launceston, so we thought we had better support local industry rather than take a contract further afield.
Our intention to turn cattle out just before Easter was delayed because of the weather. A couple of days ago we finally ran out of straw, and put them all out. Another day of heavy rain resulted in some very miserable cows and calves, as well as badly poached fields, so we have had to bring them all back in again. There is plenty of silage left and luckily a neighbour has some spare straw.
Hopefully, things will improve very soon. Everybody seems to be in the same boat.
Less than 20% of spring crops are planted on James Hoskings Cornwall farm. Only two days drilling have been possible in the past four weeks.