Rodney Down: "The next few years will be interesting but let us hope they are rewarding too"

I have always dreaded the kids asking about the birds and the bees, but being on the farm it is all around us.


However, one question I was asked was just as bad: “Daddy, can you explain how the combine works?”


We were combining at the time but a seven-year-old’s interpretation of concave clearance may be a challenge. A few diagrams later we were off and Lauren now wants to be a combine driver after having a go.


Harrison on the other hand just loves chasing cattle when they escape or need moving - something that happens on a regular occurance at the moment.


Seeing the next generation now taking an interest without it being forced upon them is probably the best reward we can have at the moment.


Being a longer term optimist I guess I should encourage this enthusiasm and capitalise on it for an easier life.


July and August have been exceptionally dry here. We are on full winter rations with no grazing available. The finances of this milk is simple, it is loss making.


Arla’s decision to only put up the milk price by 1ppl for September will do little to solve the problem. It is a good job the cattle and wheat are worth a bit more to help balance the books.


Harvest finished in record time here. Only one day did we not combine from start to finish. Yields were variable (10.5 – 7 t/ha) but by no means a write off like the barley. All will be put into store until the price hits £140/t, which is my new target.


This will be my last article in what has been an enjoyable seven years of writing for Farmers Guardian. I would like to thank all the people from around the country who contact me or come and have a chat at shows and events to talk about this article and who to wind up next.


Farming is a great community that spreads worldwide, as do the challenges we all face. The next few years are going to be very interesting, if not challenging, but let’s hope they are rewarding as well.


For a bit of banter I do dabble in twitter @RodneyDown.


Thank you.

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