Peter Hogg

2 November 2001

Peter Hogg

Peter Hogg farms in

partnership with his brother

at Causey Park Farm, near

Morpeth, Northumberland.

Half the 450ha (1100-acre)

heavyland farm is in crops,

mainly winter wheat, barley

and oilseed rape, plus a few


THERE we were, chasing sheep around, baling silage, spraying, sowing wheat and harvesting potatoes, all on the same day.

Such a work commitment is becoming bad for my image. Im much better known for posing outside the wine bars in Jesmond with my old Alfa Romeo and gold medallion. Im actually off this weekend to keep an appointment with one of Stewart Hayllors calabrese pickers – see FW Oct 11 and you can guess which one!

We switched from harvesting our early potatoes to maincrop when the price dropped to £50/t. A little under 1ha (2.5 acres) of earlies are still in the ground and with conditions waterlogged prospects of lifting them look poor. At the start of the season we were harvesting 17.3t/ha (7t/acre) at £130/t and we finished at 44.5t/ha (18t/acre) at £50/t. It is a case of less equals more.

Over the last few years, as I have got older, it has been getting smaller, but this year it is the smallest it has ever been. In fact I would say "it" – that is our cereal yield/acre – must be the smallest in the country, especially the last bit.

While Keith set off in the combine to cut the 1.6ha (4 acres) of spring barley left, Sean hitched up a tractor and trailer. But as he set off for the field he met Keith and the combine coming back. His trailer wasnt required because all the grain was in the tank and he could unload straight into the shed.

Now, I wouldnt even dare suggest to Keith that the combine just might not have been set correctly and that perhaps a tiny amount of grain could somehow have gone over the back. So on the pretence of going to see if the straw was fit to bale I went to the field to have a look under the swath. But my suspicions were unfounded, with barely a grain lost – the yield had all gone long before, a legacy of the late April drilling. &#42

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