Spalding area farmer Tony Gent looks at a challenging autumn
Brexit and the weather as ever are the topics of the moment, as I write this it’s Boris’s metaphoric “dead in a ditch” time. I am sure all farmers have ditches that Boris would be very uncomfortable in at the moment, both from a weather point of view and the unfolding Brexit policy for agriculture.
There is still massive uncertainty although No-deal seems to have receded for the moment, but the current proposed deal is somewhat harder than previous proposals.
We have had over 40 years now of developing across the E.U. a stable and reliable high standard food supply infrastructure that is diverse enough to cover both seasonal needs and weather extremes to a high standard with free and simple to administer trade that we all benefit from both ways.
To put all this at risk at a time when agriculture has major challenges with crop production methods, soil degradation, climate change, environmental and health pressures and in a very unstable world to me is complete folly.
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Suppose of more immediate concern is the extreme amount of rain we are having. I think the autumn is turning out to be one of those we will highlight in our memories in years to come.
For heavier soil combinable crop farmers we would traditionally sow our winter cereals in September and early October, but because of pressures of grass weed control we are now forced to sow later and in a challenging autumn such as this we are finding it much more difficult.
For the lighter soil farmers with crops such potatoes and sugar beet – these crops are now mainly produced by large specialists growers that rely on large machines that really struggle in these extreme conditions. Gone are the days when the small family farm would all pull together and get the basket out and with back breaking work picking the potatoes by hand to get the job done.
What was I saying about being part of a larger geographic area that we can easily access to cover the increasing vagrancy’s of seasons – consumers be aware.