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In your field: James Lacey - 'The last of the 2020 potatoes have been graded and sent out'

It is already halfway through 2021; where on earth does the time go? This year seems to have flown by faster than usual as I have been busier than ever working on different projects across the farm.

I am always looking to improve what we are already doing and being innovative is extremely important to me. I feel incredibly lucky to have a good team around me that allows this to happen.

 

This year has provided some good growing conditions and even the torrential rain that visited us gave all the crops a much needed drink and most of the staff a long weekend off.

 

As lovely as the warmer weather has been after the long cold winter, the sun comes with its own challenges and makes getting through a long list of fields that need spraying seem endless.

 

To keep on top of blight, finishing off T3s and the flowers, I have been spraying most evenings with our little backup sprayer, making sure none of the higher value crops are scorched.

 

I have done more spraying this year than I probably have done in the last five years but needs must.

 

Our local Fendt dealer has given us great support to keep the Rogator going whenever we need it. We are extremely fortunate to work with three great dealers that are within a 10-mile radius of our yard: Chandlers, Doubleday’s and Grimme UK have all been excellent.


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Finally, the last of the 2020 potatoes have been graded and sent out. Thank goodness that pain is over and the cold stores can now be cleaned down properly ready to start lifting this year’s crop in early July.

 

Within the next week we will wrap up harvesting sweet williams, having had success with the new harvester.

 

We have already started cropping sunflowers and gladioli will also start their cropping season in the coming weeks.

 

While all this is happening we are drilling sunflowers and planting gladioli for this season and are ready to drill sweet williams for next.

 

We played host to a Trelleborg internal training day recently, which was very enjoyable and something different for us too. It was great to meet some of their team and they all hopefully left having learned something new about farming, even though group talking is not a strong point of mine.

 

Tom Godwin, agricultural field manager at the manufacturer, made the day’s activities fun and inclusive for everyone. Luckily the weather was excellent and we were able to make the most of it.

 

I had another interesting exercise this month; forming a tender for some Crown Estate land. Although I was unsuccessful, the process was a real eye opener for me and I really have no idea what the Government’s retirement plan for older farmers will do to the industry.

 

I walked away feeling concerned about what chance young farmers really have to be able to make it in this industry. Asking for 12 months’ rent up front seems a large hurdle many would simply stand no chance of clearing.

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