Farming 2012 – a curate’s egg

Posted by on Aug 20, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

It’s now nearly 8 months that Land Partners has been up and running and operating from a converted farm building in a working farm yard. Nothing brings home the vagaries of the agricultural year like watching it out the window and receiving regular updates in passing from the horses’ mouths (apologies boys).
Not being the farming expert within the firm, it’s been a great reminder of all the points in the farming year which together bring success or heartache at harvest. It’s hard to remember now that we were seriously worried about drought conditions at the beginning of the year and as emerging crops sat under snow in February, we were grateful for the prospect of snow melt.
Fast forward a few months, prayers had been answered and then some, as the regular conversation through the window revolved around how many mm had fallen the previous day. Soon, the general sogginess of the fields became a serious concern as any forays into crops with machinery resulted in serious rutting and potential soil damage.
Happily, harvest is now well underway and the impact of the weather we have suffered is now becoming clear. Initial frustrations at the late start and slow progress through border-line ripe crops are fading and on the farm here, the general consensus is that yields are reasonable and this is proving to be a much better harvest than had been feared.
However, updates from across East Anglia from various clients have shown the marked divergence in results between areas and across varieties. Michael spent time earlier in the year drumming into us and clients that fungicide application was going to be key this year, given the weather pattern and without directly saying ‘I told you so’, it’s clear he feels that those that applied their fungicides at the optimum times and rates, have reaped the reward.
Looking at emerging results, there is also the sense that the historical ‘barn fillers’ have not performed as well this year and overall tonnages on many farms will be down as a result. On the plus side though, prices have stayed strong and there’s hope that where yields are down, budgets will be still be achieved due to this strength in the markets.
I’m not drawing any conclusions or making any sweeping statements on the 2012 harvest as yet, as the switching fortunes predicted throughout the year have stung many. I think the only conclusion we can currently draw is that it is very patchy out there, as any scan of agricultural tweets or conversations in the pub shows. Fingers crossed that your patch is one of the good ones………….