So, another harvest begins. Time can now be spent in the solitary confinement of the combine cab, where all thoughts of Brexit can be put to one side.
Instead of politics, the more predictable things in life can be contemplated – such as the weather, the yields, the commodity markets and harvest progress.
And, of course, it’s time to dust off the “pub-yield rule book” – that ancient tome used to guide those all-important evening discussions over a pint, when the combine has been tucked away for the night.
However, in case venturing to the pub is off the agenda in these hectic, modern times, there is a modern alternative – namely, the “Twitter/Instagram-yield rule book”. New approach, new set of rules…
Rule 1. Before putting any photos of combine yield meter readouts on social media, first make sure you are in the best part of the field and, second, make sure you have calibrated things appropriately. Barley should be at the same bushel-weight as dry sand, wheat at the same bushel-weight as wet sand.
Rule 2. When tweeting the pictures of your double-digit yields, always add a comment such as “We were a bit disappointed with this yield, but it is our worst field #harvest19”, or “Yield OK, seeing as it had only seed off the heap, one spray and no fertiliser #mymarginsmuchbiggerthanyours”.
Rule 3. When commenting on the latest spot prices, say: “Phoned the merchant today. Price down again. Now wish I had sold everything forward last August for £200 per tonne. I’m now well and truly kicking myself that I forward-sold only 90% of harvest 2019 back then #marketingmastermind.”
Rule 4. If your harvesting is rained off, like the rest of the country, tweet out an old photo of the combine running in blue skies with a cloud of dust trailing behind, adding the comment “Glad the showers went round us today. How’s everyone else getting on? #sunshinesonthesmug”.
Rule 5. When it comes to grain store pictures on social media, always photo your biggest heap in wide angle and add “Glad our old five-acre meadow field came up trumps again #fieldsofgold”.
Rule 6. Photoshop a picture of Ellie or Matt from Countryfile into the cab. #youwillneverguesswhoIhadinmycabtheotherday. (This may be an evening job, except for those with the most fancy smartphones.)
Rule 7. Take a photo of the extra-large Fortnum & Mason luxury hamper you won in the village fete raffle, now placed strategically on the passenger seat in your cab, adding the hashtag #Harvesttea.
Rule 8. When tweeting about how many acres you have combined since lunchtime, put the figure down as hectares by mistake #combinelandspeedrecord.
Rule 9. Let me know how you’re getting on by tweeting me @essexpeasant (#sackofsaltattheready).
Rule 10. Keep smiling. It’s only harvest. There will be another one next year. Brexit or no Brexit.