They say fortune favours the brave, but in the light of the autumn season from hell it’s too soon to say if it’s braver to go ahead and drill whatever the conditions or wait for a better opportunity, even if that risks no crop at all.
There is no right or wrong solution to the problem; every situation and every field is different and we have tried most options with various results pending.
As tenant farmers we have tried to aim for a crop, thinking that a shed full of fresh air after harvest won’t pay the rent, but it’s a fine line between profit and loss if prices are pushed down as well as the inevitable yield penalties.
I always look forward to Christmas as it means a welcome break at the end of an intense six months of work where we jump in at the rape harvest and re-surface once the beet is safely snug on the pad, plough seams are mellowing and the wheat twinkles in neat rows near the end of November.
Also I usually hate warm weather at Christmas as it seems inappropriate. However, this year will be different as, with so much ploughing and drilling still outstanding, frosty weather would mean an opportunity lost to the festivities.
When we tuck into a hearty meal over the holidays it will certainly be a good time to reflect on the hard work that has gone into every sprout and every roastie, and a good time to call in on a fellow farmer to mull over the stresses and strains of the toughest of years.