Steve Heard: 'A lot has changed in seven years, yet other things remain the same'

arablefarm lifeBlack-grass

In preparation for a Christmas game of Trivial Pursuit, who can remember the year and month Michael Jackson died?


It seems a long time ago, but I also wrote my first Farmers Guardian article in the month MJ died, which was June 2009. A lot has changed since and, in some ways, little has changed.


Back then, we were still learning about the luxury of auto steer tractors, yet today without bout markers or tramliners on our drills, we are totally dependent on this and lots of other new electronic technology.


I think the last time our fields had even an occasional visit from a plough was 2010, and now at least half our crops are established in a zero till system.


Perhaps the biggest change for me is the fact I was previously confident we could chemically control black-grass and continue to farm the way we wanted. I have since learnt we cannot.


This single issue has resulted in a change of rotation, a change of machinery and forced a change of mindset.


I cannot deny we have enjoyed at least a couple of nicely profitable years during the last seven, but things are once again much like they were.


We are still investing increasing amounts of money, time and effort with absolutely no guarantee of any profitable return.


Thankfully, farmers are eternal optimists and live in the hope next year will be better.


Seven-and-a-half years ago, my young daughters were enjoying exam-free schooling and my parents were revelling in a healthy lifestyle.


In such a seemingly short time, we are already applying to universities and both parents are struggling with ill health.


The challenge of a work/life balance is probably something I started a little late in life, but I am determined to improve.


Finally, I must not forget to mention my gorgeous wife Louise, who apparently has never had a mention, but even after all these years is still just as beautiful as ever.


Thank you for reading my last article and if you ever feel the need then please follow my farming misfortunes on Twitter: @heardfarmingltd.


Merry Christmas to you all and many more happy new years.

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