The Dilemma of Uncertainty

We’re hammering through 2022 at a rate of knots!

How everything has changed in a short period of time including inflationary elements arising from the aftermath of the pandemic and, the cruel war that Russia is waging against its neighbouring country.

The world is in a mess and the knock-on effect on farming is immense!

There have been many positives to the year with a good lambing now well behind us, with the sheep and offspring being turned out to grass in positively balmy weather. A few very sharp frosts brought back a degree of reality, and our grassland has decided to slow up growth in deference to the conditions. A drop of rain is needed to get things going again!

We were fortunate to get the whole farm planted in autumn last year and have an increased area of milling wheat which bodes well for a likely shortage of this commodity. Indeed, grain prices recently hit an all-time high, so hopefully our marketeers were able to hit some of that target and sold grain from this year’s potential harvest in advance, managing the risks and exploiting these short-term gains.

The winter beans for some reason have so far refused to show any inspiration to grow and we can only hope things upturn quickly to be in with a chance of a half decent yield. Unfortunately, the rooks and deer seem to have hit the crop badly in places which has not helped the situation.

Fertiliser prices like many commodities hit mythical highs a short while ago. A quick calculation showed it was almost as profitable selling what fertiliser we had in stock and making a substantial gain over and above the buying price. Prudence, which seems to be my middle name, declined the impulse and we are now set fair for the usual normality of crop management and harvest for the rest of the season!

A long-standing workshop tenant recently retired which means there is a building of some 1800 sq ft requiring a new occupier. In the interim, the building is being refurbished and will shortly appear available to let.

As we look ahead, there is much uncertainty in farming prospects. Whereas end point grain prices, especially milling wheat, should show good returns from this year’s harvest given fair wind and weather, but the outlook cannot be quantified!

What of next year? Basically, we’re flying blind and need to take a punt on when to purchase fertiliser and at what price level, fuels, seed, sprays all of which are necessary for our usual cropping methodology. Perhaps next year will promote a major change in all our thinking with a need to stand back, give time to assess the situation and seeks alternatives. In fact, a challenge is presented, and sometimes the challenge stimulates change for the good. Watch this space!

Easter is a great time of year epitomised by primroses and the sight and sound of swallows as they take up residence in our buildings. A relaxed week-end was briefly considered this time, but with the whole family here on Easter day all flails are now flying in the catering department. I guess the magic chickens will do their bit again and lay those foil wrapped chocolate eggs!