Farming thoughts from South Lincolnshire grower

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At this time of year on the arable side of the farm we tend to review the past year and look forward and plan for the coming year.

This autumn has been exceptionally difficult for everybody who works outdoors. We have achieved 80 per cent of our planned wheat drilling, which according to press articles is about the country average. I am quite pleased with this achievement considering the conditions and the amount of time we had to do the job. We only need another couple of nice days to finish. Winter wheat can be drilled up to the end of February, so given some luck we still have time.

Of the crops in the ground, 75 per cent of them have established OK; the rest is suffering in the constant wet and we will have to look at fields carefully in the spring to decide if they will make a crop or not.

We have kept off our fields recently as we felt that it is now just too wet to do any jobs and we will cause more harm than any good we could do.

Our free range chickens have been in about three months now and settling down well, keeping three people busy collecting eggs and looking after them every day, so over weekends and holidays we spread the load, with extra help to allow us all some time off.

As for the coming year, we are planning for more spring crops than we would like, which on wet heavy soils is not going to be easy. We certainly will need the weather with us.