By jameshunter1, Apr 11 2017 09:02PM
Life up on the farm (by James Hunter)
Firstly I start with a topic that was in the local BBC television news. Wellgrain have gone into administration. They were agricultural grain merchants based in Ely. Their business was to buy the farmers grain & oil seed rape and sell it to the millers, maltsters, feed companies, ports & the like of Weetabix. This is how all trade is done to ensure the correct specification of grain lands up in the right mill. They arranged haulage & managed the contracts & paid 28 days after the last load of the contract was moved. Contracts are all based on full lorry loads and are in multiples of 29 tonnes. A load of wheat is worth about £4000 & rape over £10 000. Unfortunately many local farmers had loaded their January & February contracts and had not been paid before the receivers were called in. The result is that many farmers have grown a crop for the 2016 harvest, stored it since August, loaded it out of store and will probably not get paid for it. There are several estimates of the shortfall in the press, it is rumoured to be about £20 million. This is bad news for many local farmers.
The weather in March has enabled us to get on well with the arable work. We have made good progress applying the spring fertiliser which has been nicely washed in after application. But the conditions have also been favourable for crop disease. We have had a rust infection in the Reflection first wheats. We have had to go through with a fungicide application earlier than normal. We will have to keep a close eye on it for the next few months to ensure the leaves are protected and stay green to enable the wheat to grow well & produce a good harvest. The Spring barley has all been drilled in good conditions & will hopefully soon germinate & emerge.
Tilbrook Hawk(pictured), a young bull, last week went down to the breed society show & sale in Exeter. Martyn took him down on Wednesday to get him settled in ready for the sale. He was quite young in his class & did not get a rosette in the judging. He walked well in the sale ring and was sold for 3000 guineas to a farmer in Wiltshire. A good result. Gavin is going down again in April & I will hopefully to be able to report some exiting news next month.
Miss Mary York who has been on the farm & living in the row of cottages for over 50 years has gone into a residential home. She was house keeper for all the students we had on the farm since the 1960’s. Cooking, cleaning and generally looking after the students we used to have all year round. We had Danish, Swedish and German as well as many from the agricultural colleges. She has been retired for quite a long time. She was a regular cake baker for the Country Fayre for many years. She was finding it difficult to manage on her own in her cottage and is now quite enjoying being looked after in her new home. We wish her well.
Finally many may have noticed that we have been able to get the cattle turned out. This is a little earlier than some years. The grass is growing, it has been warm enough at night & the ground is dry enough so the cattle are out and are grazing for the summer.