It’s spring! As I walk out of our yard, an area of land across the road is a mass of beautiful snowdrops, the nights are drawing out and the shooting season has closed.
By Ian Bell, OBE, Head of Farming & Rural Engagement.
Yes, I am aware of the old saying ‘you should still have your winter stock of feed and bedding on the first day of February’ and yes, we still have time for winter.
Farmers and growers have more decisions to make this spring as compared to any other in recent times, due to the incessant wet weather over the last four months. Thousands of acres that should be growing winter varieties of oilseed rape and cereals lay barren. Root crops that should be safely tucked away in a cold store remain unharvested. Animal feed costs are escalating as cattle were housed early last autumn and poached pastures are unfit to takes ewes and lambs.
Yet, this could be an opportunity in the fight against blackgrass. Advanced plant breeding has improved the yield profile of many spring cereal varieties. For those selling, the current price of straw is nothing to shout about, if cash flow will allow, leave it in the barn until next year; it could be worth gold dust!
FOLK2FOLK are delighted to continue our support of the Calf Auction at Holsworthy Market in North Devon every Wednesday. For the last two years we have been recognising vendors who really put a massive effort into presenting a strong healthy well shaped calf that a purchaser can buy with confidence. Many do this week after week, not only earning a reputation amongst their peers for their stock but also earning a considerable contribution to their trading account.
It is never too early to think about succession. A subject that receives a lot of press coverage and umpteen seminars every winter. Farming has changed from the days when a farmer just retired with the sale of his goods and chattels. The advent of diversification and particularly permitted development rights might make that old barn, which you can get a horse and cart in, but not a tractor, a potential residential development, or that row of loose boxes may be well positioned for office accommodation. Why don’t you reap the benefits to boost your retirement? FOLK2FOLK can help you with funding using the existing assets of your farm for security. Click here to find out more.