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Rodney Down: A silage trailer conspiracy causes unease, while form-filling continues

I am sure there is a conspiracy going on around here. It involves silage trailers I keep seeing.

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My conclusion is my neighbours are purposely going the long way round past our farm just to wind me up that I should be silage-making. And with barely a wheelbarrow full of grass silage on the farm, you can understand my anxiousness.

 

So silage trailer spotted, it is off to the office to check the weather forecast as there is something I must have missed. I am now running four weather reports and none of them agree so the mower stays in the shed. I am convincing myself that with the flag leaf just out, my silage will be such a heavy, top quality cut and full of sugar, it will pay to have waited a little longer.

 

It does, however, mean we can soldier on with the maize, half is up in rows and the other half is not even ploughed. Tricky would be one way of describing this spring. There is nothing like a bit of counselling from a fellow farmer in the same situation, so I rang a friend in the next village.

 

He has been caught out with land worked for the maize drill and then subsequent rainfall, a good moan to each other and we felt a little better. Until he let slip he had just done his grass silage and was putting the after cut fertiliser on.

 

My Single Payment forms have been submitted in the traditional way, as I am not learning a new way of form filling for it to be changed again next year. As I begin to plan next year’s crops and eagerly await the new rules and the effect on the bottom line, I was amazed to hear the announcement has been postponed as the information may affect the European elections.

 

I don’t know about anybody else, but as the CAP is a huge part of Europe, the candidates have not really said too much about agriculture, if anything. Or is it the case the news is going to be so bad that UKIP might have something else to fire them up again.


Rodney Down

Somerset

Rodney Down farms with his wife Claire at Higher Wrantage Farm, Taunton, Somerset, with 125ha (307 acres) on a farm business tenancy and a further 323ha (800 acres) rented and contract farmed. He milks 300 Holstein Friesians and runs 350 beef cattle and followers. The farm includes 180ha (445 acres) feed wheat and 61ha (150 acres) of maize.

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