Review of 2004: Harvest

WET WEATHER, lower prices, pink grains and high diesel prices are just some of the talking points highlighted by the FARMERS WEEKLY Farmer Focus writers this harvest.

“Eight weeks from ‘ears to shears‘ they say with winter barley. With our crops at GS51 it suggests we shall have to get the combine rolling by July 12.” Godwin, May 28.

“[Brother] Paul sold the barley back in early April for £90/t for May delivery. The way prices have gone I am pleased he did.” Dale, Jun 4.

“[Hiring another combine] enabled us to finish barley just before a storm of an inch of rain plus ice cubes arrived.” Ward, Aug 6.

“Harvest prices have come down to E95/t. That is some 50% less than six months ago.” Schintling-Horny, Aug 13.

“Last year I grumbled about paying 18p a litre for fuel. This year I would give my eye teeth for a tank-full at the same price.

“Perhaps we growers should take a leaf out of the airline operators‘ book and charge fuel supplement on crop that has to be dried.” Bumstead, Aug 20.

“Oilseed rape has been in the swath for 12 days and has gone very black, as has the wheat.” Peddie, Aug 20.

“One field now resembles the Somme, prompting us to fit some second-hand Terra tyres to the combine.” Ward, Sep 3.

“Not for many years have I seen so much unharvested wheat in the fields on Sep 1.” Schintling-Horny, Sep 10.

“The fact that fusarium, obvious by being pink, is most probably not linked to mycotoxins makes [rejections for pink grains] hard to take.” Harrold, Oct 8.

“The subject of pink grains is making me see red. It is the shoot-first, ask-later mentality in the grain trade that does nothing but destroy trust between growers and the trade.” Bumstead, Oct 15.

See FWi Arable tomorrow (Dec 31) for the final two articles in our series reviewing the year, when the FARMERS WEEKLY Farmer Focus writers give their opinions on Agricultural policy and some of the more unusual quotes from 2004.

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