Don’t miss this month’s new look Arable Farming. Take a look at the digital edition today.
As I write, Theresa May is on her way to tender her resignation to the Queen and, before the day is out, Boris Johnson will be appointed as our new Prime Minister. His arrival in Downing Street comes with heightened concerns over the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, something industry leaders have repeatedly warned would be catastrophic for UK farmers. The ‘first 100 days’ has a symbolic significance for any new political leader and in a twist of irony, October 31, the date on which Mr Johnson continues to insist the UK will leave the European Union, is 99 days away. In the meantime farmers and growers must take decisions for the new season that will affect their livelihoods and potentially the viability of their businesses. Mr Johnson must act quickly to convert his words into actions and dispel the uncertainty that has prevailed for too long.
Harvest is underway, in scorching temperatures, in the South and East and, although there is the
inevitable mixed bag of early results, there are signs of some decent yields. Oilseed rape yields appear to be disappointing and pleasantly surprising in equal measure but there is no doubt the crop’s future hangs in the balance on many farms as the full impact of this season’s cabbage stem flea beetle onslaught becomes apparent. Meanwhile, the first of the winter barley results from
the AHDB’s Recommended List trials reveal yields 0.5 tonnes per hectare up on the five-year average.
On a less positive note, I hear anecdotally that some grain merchants are attempting to levy ‘cool-
ing charges’ of several £ per tonne on grain with harvest movement. With temperatures predicted
to reach 39degC over the next couple of days, such a move signals a disappointing lack of willingness to work with growers under hugely challenging conditions. Harvest of course signals the end of the old season and the beginning of the new and in this issue of Arable Farming we look at some of the key themes for the coming season. With the loss of several key crop protection actives and pressures on cost management, the expectation is that we will see something of a shift to later drilling (see page 64). Don’t miss our features in this issue covering the agronomy and machinery angles of such a shift.
But I’m in danger of getting ahead of myself, there are weeks of combining ahead, so here’s to a good
harvest and a safe one for all Arable Farming readers.