Stephen Bumstead

16 November 2001

Stephen Bumstead

Stephen Bumstead farms

148ha (365 acre) from Ouse

Bank Farm, Great Barford,

Beds. He is a first

generation farmer and

council tenant, growing

combinable crops on three

blocks of land. He supports

LEAF and is the FWAG

county treasurer

PATIENCE and benign weather are in great need just now. I am amazed by the population of grassweeds that have germinated on the shallow-cultivated stubble and up to a couple of weeks ago they were still coming through.

But the problem is these fields are only just becoming dry enough for the sprayer to travel on with out bad rutting let alone drill, and we still have the wind-speed to worry about.

To get the soil to dry enough to drill I will have to move it with the triple Ks or plough then combi-drill. But of course then I will be replenishing the seed-bed with more weed seeds. Catch 22.

Of course the agronomists answer was to drill earlier, but as there were spring crops waiting to be harvested in September there was not a lot I could do.

And yes, I know what I said last month about going over to a more min-till regime. I will never get rid of my ploughs and we have just refurbished the five-furrow. What fun that was! I still have the scars on my hands and have only just found all of the spanners thrown in fits of rage.

I have been lucky enough to secure a place on a BASIS course in Norfolk. For a couple of years or so now I have been wanting to attend and my bluff was finally called a month ago when the ultra-efficient Anne-Marie Hamilton of Beds County Training told me of a cancellation place available on a course starting that next week. With three-quarter funding available, in my mind there was no question of ignoring such a golden opportunity.

Having taken the profit from autumn wheat seed sales, especially Group 3 varieties, isnt it funny how the merchant trade are now moaning at the prospect of a "huge" 2002 harvest. Excuse me, but if the sales force in any other industry made such a negative statement it would be grounds for instant dismissal. &#42

Steve Bumstead is studying for BASIS having landed a last minute place on a course.

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