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Steve Heard: On the wind down to the end of the year, and bank forecasts look worrying

Even the sprayer, having just renewed its MOT test, has been primed with anti-freeze and tucked away to hibernate in a warm cosy shed.

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About the author

Steve Heard farms at Illston on the hill, Leicestshire. He grows a variety of combinable crops on 1,192ha (2,945 acres) of land, which is rented and contact farmed. He also runs an arable contracting business, and is a keen user of new technology.

Kerb and Astrokerb were applied to the oilseed rape in good time this year and already some effect upon the weed burden can be seen as I stomp around fields shooting aimlessly at flocks of pigeons which seem to have made an early pilgrimage this year.

 

Our four snowploughs have been serviced and prepared just in case people’s dreams of a white Christmas miraculously come true. This year, in its wisdom, the local council has issued us with various maps to designate roads for which we are now responsible.

 

However, I do question the wisdom of allocating roads outside our own farm to a neighbour some miles away, while we are apparently now contracted to clear the road at the end of his drive?

 

Each year, our friendly bank posts a ‘forward planning’ booklet to provide farming customers with a guide to evaluate various crops, livestock and farming systems. This year’s predictions do not make good reading.

 

Never before have I seen so many ‘net margins’ with bracketed loss numbers, even with yields beyond what I might dare budget, and perhaps optimistic prices, they make very uncomfortable forecasts. My request to Santa this year is simply for anything which might help further cut production costs without reducing yield. Let’s hope he has some better ideas than me.

 

After seven years with us since leaving school, Matt has decided to start working self-employed in the livestock sector.

 

I would like to thank him for his hard work and wish him all the best.

 

This just leaves me to say a very merry Christmas to everyone and hope next year provides this harvest’s yield with last season’s prices.

 

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