What a relief to have a forecast of dry weather for a full week ahead. Last Thursday, we finished harvesting the seed wheat at about midnight. It rained as promised on Friday and lashed on Saturday. How did the wheat do? About 4.4t/ac at an average moisture of 19.5 or so – satisfactory, but not remarkable.
On the plus side, it was in the same field where we had a filthy, very poor weed-infested crop of beans last year, so it was a dramatic improvement from that point of view and the crop itself was weed free and standing perfectly.
The straw is sold and still to be baled, but given the forecast, I certainly hope it will be all cleared this week. As I write, we have just started the feed wheat and the special combine my customer uses for the gluten-free oats has just arrived and begun to harvest what looks like a nice crop, but we will shortly see.
The only crop remaining then will be the beans – I am dithering as to whether to desiccate them or not, but with the inevitable volunteer oats and oilseed rape plants, I will probably go ahead and even up the crop and make it easier to harvest. In the intervening period, I hope to have next year’s oilseed rape sown. We will hopefully start ploughing this week - we have slurry out on the ground, so it should get a chance to dry in and allow easier ploughing.
Meanwhile, I am growing increasingly conscious of the raft of new regulations and changes that look to be coming down the tracks.
We already have a good idea of the significant reductions we face on the basic farm payment, but I am still not clear about how much environmental related changes will cost. I already separate out the silage effluent and soiled water into a separate tank. I am not sure, reading the latest details, if there is enough capacity in the existing tank. Then, there may be an obligation – again, I am not sure if we will be obliged to buy low emission slurry spreading equipment. Broadly, all we can do is follow the negotiations as they progress and then see whether we have to adjust stock numbers or make significant new investments on the cattle side.