Duncan Farrington: One of the best harvests ever

This year's harvest has been one of the best, says Duncan

This year's harvest has been one of the best, says Duncan

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Harvest is almost complete and it has been an excellent one here at Bottom Farm.

That’s in stark contrast to the disastrous one we had last year.

The 2013 harvest was the worst in my farming career, whereas 2014 will be remembered as one of the best.

The rapeseed yielded very well, as did the wheat; and what’s more, we managed to get most of it harvested in good conditions, with some lovely weather.

We have just finished the spring barley, which was not so good, leaving one field of spring beans and one of spring wheat to gather.

No sooner has the last crop been safely gathered in than we are back on the land planting next year’s crops, with the rapeseed already safely in the ground.

The cycle continues from one year to the next.

It is very much a case of working day and night, sometimes not knowing which priority to do first before the weather breaks, as it inevitably does at some stage.

I sit writing this feeling rather weary as the rain falls, giving us all a day’s well-earned rest.

In between work on the farm, I have also fitted in a weekend manning our stand at Carfest in Hampshire, promoting our rapeseed oil to festival goers.

It was great to see a few Northamptonshire visitors at the show.

On marketing of a different kind, while 2014 has been an excellent year for growing crops, the same can’t be said for selling them, as currently prices for crops are about 35 per cent lower than last year.

We produce global commodities and because of this, we are very much at the mercy of global markets.

When President Putin decided to walk into Crimea back in the spring, wheat prices peaked as the world worried what might happen in a major wheat-growing area.

However, now the markets have decided things are not so bad after all (for crops rather than Ukrainians), while countries are having very good harvests around the world, so there is no current pressure on supplies of food, hence prices have plummeted.

Luckily I sold a small amount of our wheat forward at the high price but, as with all such decisions, one never knows what the right thing to do is, while I haven’t yet mastered the art of trading with hindsight.

Therefore, in summary, I have had a bigger crop than hoped, which is worth less than hoped, so it probably all works out about even.

If anyone would like some excellent quality wheat over the next few months, I may be able to supply some – if the price is right of course!