October 25 marked the end of British Summer Time with the nights drawing in and farmers gathering in the last crops from the 2015 year and planting crops for 2016 harvest, writes Stafford Proctor.
Sugar beet harvest is in full swing and due to the reduced area planted, sugar beet factories will finish slicing in January, six weeks earlier than usual.
Potato harvest is near completion. Yields are variable, with a reduced national and European crop. We are hopeful that prices this year will cover the costs and risks involved in growing the crop.
Low grain prices, however, will lead to poor profits for many farming businesses and management of cash and cash flow will be more important than ever. Farmers must work closely with bankers to keep them informed and supportive.
We must reduce the risks inherent in farming, changing crops and improving production techniques with lower costs to give a more reliable, secure income. Necessity is the mother of invention!
Farmers are being squeezed by rising production costs and falling values of the food that we grow – the cost/price squeeze. Supermarkets are driving down the price that they pay for our produce, literally squeezing farmers out of business. If people want to buy the best food available and support local farmers, it is important that they look for British, demand British and buy British.