Moving into the unknown
With our combinable crops farming immediately after harvest, we are beginning to sow crops for next year, starting with winter oil seed rape.
Establishing this crop is always a challenge, having to be done with minimum loss of time after the previous crop, sowing a very small seed in usually dry conditions on heavy soil.
This year has been no exception and is now made even more difficult since the loss of a seed-coated insecticide that offered the plant protection from flea beetle during its early stages of growth.
The alternative to this in many cases is having to spray a broad-spectrum insecticide that kills many beneficial predator bugs. On our farm, where we are now into 11th year no-till, we have not had to resort to any spray insecticide and we are convinced that our level of predators are at a higher level and are more active to offer some natural protection. Our soil has retained moisture and nutrients, which results in more rapid growth to overcome pressure from these pests.
As we commit our working time and investment to producing crops for next year we, like many other businesses, are moving into the great unknown of Brexit and how this will all pan out, particularly for our industry with regard to trading relations with the 27 countries of the EU.
There is no doubt in my mind that it was promoted very badly and the way it’s going, the country has voted to become voluntary worse off.
The devaluation of the currency has cause large increases in commodity prices just at time when many world supplies are suffering weather-related problems, placing further pressure on consumers.
Although increased prices should encourage UK farmers to produce more, with much of our machinery and inputs being imported, so many of our cost have increased, causing loss of confidence and uncertainty.