Duncan Farrington: Nervously optimistic about year ahead

Growing conditions have been perfect this autumn, says Duncan
Growing conditions have been perfect this autumn, says Duncan

What a wonderful summer it has been, as October begins we continue to enjoy some lovely weather as the days shorten and the nights start drawing in.

The past 18 months in arable farming have not been pleasant from a weather perspective.

The resulting financial implications will endure for a further year, meaning I am having to look hard at my cash-flow figures and having regular conversations with the bank manager.

However, the farming calendar revolves and we start looking towards next year’s crops. So far it has been perfect conditions to start the new farming year.

All of our rapeseed was planted in warm moist soils, enabling this most delicate of plants to get off to the best possible start during the crucial first few weeks of its life.

Next we turn our attention to planting the wheat crop.

Again the conditions are perfect for the crop to grow, with warm and moist soils.

Rather than rushing ahead to plant our wheat, I am currently nurturing the weeds.

By encouraging as many weeds as possible to grow now, we can easily kill them off.

The more we do now, the less competition in the following wheat crop.

I am nervously optimistic that we can’t have two disastrous years in a row and all will be good this time round.

Farming is becoming very much a topic that people are interested in learning about.

I was delighted to see the recent BBC series Harvest in which three different farming systems were followed through the year observing what it takes to grow our food, culminating in the all important harvest.

It was refreshing to see agriculture portrayed as a modern, caring and efficient industry, growing fantastic quality food, using the latest techniques backed up by knowledgeable hard-working people.