By jameshunter1, Jan 11 2017 12:10PM
As another year draws to a close it is time to look back over the last 12 months. As normal the things making the most impact on us have been out of our control. This year they have been the weather & politics. The annual rainfall has been just a quarter of an inch over the 22 inch average. But March and June were much wetter than average. July & August were drier than normal. With the bad light in June this resulted in a disappointing Barley harvest as reported at the time.
The surprise Brexit vote in June has had all sorts of implications. At the time we were contemplating going into another environmental scheme. The Higher level Stewardship scheme which we had been in for ten hears had come to an end. The farm and nature had done well out of it over the duration. The biggest visual impact still to be seen & enjoyed were the hundreds of trees and kilometres of hedges planted & restored. Numerous other projects were carried out with mixed success & benefit. The future scheme was not practical to enter after Brexit as nobody knew where the payments may come from. My guess is that after some of the good done in the past will go and a further, better scheme will be available in a year or two. Birds & wildlife just hang in while the politicians debate your future!
The other major Brexit impact has been the rise in wheat price as a result of the drop in the value of Sterling. The graph shoes what has happened.
The price of UK delivered wheat has risen from £115 to £140. This has helped considerably as the Ex farm price before Brexit was below the cost of producing the tonne on many farms. We have now sold most of what we have in the barn but are hoping for another spike! We are also considering selling some of what has just emerged in the fields as we can see there is a positive margin. It is a calculated gamble but important not to sell more than we are likely to harvest in 8 months. We could also sell the 2018 harvest with just a few clicks! How things have changed. Harvested samples always used to be taken to the corn exchanges. The Local St Ives & Cambridge buildings have retained their names, are always full but never a grain in the building.
Finally 2017 is a landmark in the farm Diary. It is 70 years since my Mum & Dad came to Tilbrook Grange. There have been enormous changes over the years. I drop in a future idea from the press today - NFU.
We need to usher in the future and move forward with biotechnology by using genetically modified food and feed in the UK, the NFU said today.
At an event to mark the 20th anniversary of the widespread commercial cultivation of GM crops Dr Helen Ferrier, NFU chief science and regulatory affairs adviser, argued for the use of GMC food and feed.
Dr Ferrier writes that with GM food now firmly established as harmless and with international use of GM food and feed much advanced, debating whether to use it in the UK is now a moot point.
Dr Ferrier said: “At the NFU, we have watched the adoption of GM technology in crop production over the last 20 years with great interest but weary acceptance that the UK is being left behind.
“We have long believed that British farmers must have access to the best tools to increase their productivity, resilience and profitability, and to compete in the global marketplace.
“With overwhelming evidence that GM food and feed are safe and with proven benefits to farmers, the environment and the economy, biotechnology is one such tool to secure our agricultural future.”
Very Finally: We have a January Burger Sale!!