David Neale Blog - What a difference a year makes? - Agrii - Connecting Agri-science with farming

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October 10, 2013

David Neale Blog – What a difference a year makes?

Dare I suggest we needed some moisture this week (forecasted) to break down some pretty solid lumps to get a decent seedbed for the remaining acres. This was highlighted at our Annual Ploughing Match on the next door Estate at the weekend. Ploughmen were not happy with dry stony soils and compaction issues! (then they seldom are in competition). We took up about 200 acres all in and had a massive crowd of over 7k – the public really are interested in all the rural skills and country life we take for granted. For my part judging a large grain, hay and Maize class provided much discussion and banter.

Did you watch Greig Wallace and Harvest Time?

I sat down to be cynical but was highly impressed with content, delivery and images and explanation – Did you watch it give me your views???

Also I did a talk with Adam Henson to about 100 fee paying public the other day (none for me!) and the interest in Cooking programmes and now turning to UK Farming and local produce is amazing with lots of TV programmes being planned linking Food and Restaurants to the Field and UK Farming.

In the meantime planting is at full pace – with the last bits of OSR still going out last week for last minute planting into ideal conditions. Cereals are now at full pace and the next 7-10 days will see most in the ground apart from land behind Maize, Beans and of course the large acreage being held back as we get Blackgrass to chit and do a good job at this early stage – we must be patient on this one and use the variety and seed rate work we have that will help growers. Then of course on to Beans and thoughts of spring cropping plans!

Wheat plantings set to break 2 million hectares in UK made up of winter and late sown/spring wheat’s. This recovers from the 1,505 ha (England) in 2013. Are you doing something about selling some as competition from around the globe and more importantly Maize is here to stay for the moment and we are overpriced against imported Maize! Look at Futures for 14 and 15 and maybe an ex farm of £145 plus then tell me why you should not lock off 20% now and farm with some confidence?

Will the recent OSR suggestion in Europe help our price – Proposition to limit all external EU biodiesel imports – I think we may struggle with this given world trade issues! In the meantime winter plantings are felt to be down 10-15% on the back of rotational disruption and moving away from Rape/Wheat rotations – Do you agree?

Prefer Pulses! – time to re think with benefits for first wheat and important growth markets for Human Consumption. Top Tip is watch out for Daytona Peas. High quality, super samples and yield and premiums to be had – speak with us for details.

Malting Barley for the moment under pressure with huge acreage and good yields at high N levels and low open market premiums– more than usual to go in next spring. Look out for decent contracts and grab them early. In all sectors do not sit and wait and be prepared to sign some acreage of early contracts in all species – even lock off base values and trade premiums later.

Shortage of world wheat at higher proteins – might this help our UK milling premiums – not in the short term but watch this space for opportunities. Canada has quality problems so may help against imports. On the wheat front also watch out as China may have to import up to 10 million tonnes (from 3 million). Might not come from here but may impact yet.

Oats are the poor relation with poor samples and quality inputs – prices on the floor and not looking pretty! – talk to me about high value Naked Oat contracts at premiums over wheat prices!

Finally spare a thought for our US friends! They need a loan! Running out of cash so exporting like mad and wheat exports up 34% and stocks of grains falling fast. In saying this – what do you believe! From US to China to Russia they are all very good at talking their books and good old Europe tells the truth – mostly!

Hot news is Ensus re opening this month for ethanol production but watch maize coming in and Vivergo stays shut for the time being with plant problems!

What a Volatile world we live in but own here on the farm in the Cotswolds then life rushes on with OSR looking great (sub soiled at 40 seeds m2 of Excalibur and Excellium). Cassia and California Winter Barley drilled and now to Cocoon as top 2nd wheat and soft for wide range of markets and Dickens for highest yielding Gp4 Hard. Grass is having a late growth so good for horse liveries and sheep.

3 Red Kites having fun eating worms behind the plough! What a wondrous place the Countryside is!

You can email David your comments and opinions via david.neale@agrii.co.uk.

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