How to sum up farming 2016? Like most years, it was wet and dry, cool and warm, tough and easy in varying proportions, writes Ian Stancer.
But there can be no doubt about the biggest influence on conversation, that most controversial and divisive issue, Brexit. Of course there are now a million different definitions of what that even means, how it looks and when it should be enacted. There are those who want it yesterday and those for whom ‘sometime never’ will be too soon. Many clamour for another vote but most I think just want to get on with it and move on from the limbo we’re living through now. But the one thing we know for certain is the gain that this and many other exporting industries have made due to the welcome devaluation of the pound caused by the uncertainty; it’s taken the price of wheat from an inadequate £100’ish to a more respectable £130’ish, a level that with stringent input costs and good yield in a poor year could push some into profit.
Positive news, but clutching at straws for the longer term, so where will this indefinable monster that is Brexit take us in the new year? Nobody can possibly say for sure, all we can do is focus on what we can influence, be that cost control, blackgrass control or sanity control. On that front those who know me will know I’ve taken up singing. It’s not likely to make me rich and it certainly won’t kill grass weeds, but it may help preserve what little sanity I possess.
So a happy and peaceful Christmas to all and a prosperous new year whatever the pound does.