Whaplode Drove farmers talks clods and computers

Farmer Ian Stancer
Farmer Ian Stancer

Dowsdale is crowded with big ugly lumps, what my grandad would have described as clods like “hosses-eds”.

Thankfully, there is also a bit of tilth to cosset the majority of the new seeds, but what a difference a year makes. At present conditions are far too dry, but that sure beats too wet and is just what was needed to bring the soil back to life, with the help of some deep cultivation.

With an indifferent harvest largely behind us, history’s lessons show what we should have done last year: if possible, we should have drilled earlier, into deeper cultivated, and more forgiving soil types – easier said than done.

This time next year we will know if the many hours and diesel gallons spent ploughing and subsoiling this autumn pay off.

After long negotiations, the NFU sugar board has come to price agreement with British Sugar. The results won’t please everybody but those four crucial pounds over and above the pre-agreed “Inter Professional Agreement” model price are significant. The new deal also heralds a continuing willingness to forge a more robust price mechanism for the remainder of the current sugar regime to avoid similar brinksmanship and uncertainty. What is clear is that the solidarity shown by sugar growers made a big difference and a definite shift in the previous monopoly power of the processor towards growers. Modern communications seem to be the key.

Now, back to the clods…