Tuesday, March 24, 2020

What UK Farmers need to look out for after Coronavirus.


Too much to take in

What’s the big story for today? The virus? The lock-down of UK plc? The FTSE crash? Not much else is getting a look-in. Even Greta Thunberg, Prince Harry and Prince Andrew have all lost the lime-light. You'll have difficulty in finding anything on farming. 

And maybe that's because, compared with many other sectors, farming isn’t such a bad business to be in. We work from home anyway. Mostly, we live isolated virus-free lives. We can endure a few  months of restricted movement. 

Demand for farmer's products looks pretty solid and certainly hasn’t disappeared like it has for airlines. Neither are we looking a shed loads of equipment being parked up like their planes. 

So far we are not facing shortages of inputs, and the cost of some of these, like red diesel, is on the decline… if only slowly. 

And, to cap it all, our non-cap basic payments are assured for this next year.  Lots to be thankful for. 

Looking ahead 

Looking further ahead and the view becomes somewhat murky. Forget climate change, further controls on chemicals...  and the main issue is the change in payments. The public money for public good. It’s the next big issue for farmers.

Future Practical Farm Ideas issues will be looking at what this means, and we have made a useful start in the Financial Focus of the current issue. It takes a broad look at the decision to go for what we have called 'eco-money' or continue farming as before. 

It has similarities as whether to go organic. So much depends on the soil you farm. Years ago I visited a farmer near Newent who went organic and found he was getting better arable and grass yields than before. In passing he told me the top soil across much of his farm was as deep as his 3C digger could reach. I had 12 inches where I farmed in Wales, which is why I never thought seriously about it. 

Workshop projects for the next issue

Being confined to barracks means no farm visits, which are the backbone of each issue of Farm Ideas.

The new issue will be done via farmer contacts, with pictures being emailed and the story from phone calls. It’s not impossible, but clearly depends on farmers finding the time to volunteer.  

A fencing trailer is needed on every farm. This one is featured in the current issue   and carries all the tools, a lot of wire and a reeler, posts and rolls of netting. If your fencing tools are all over the place this could be the coronavirus project which stands the test of time

Please contact me if you have a workshop project or idea which can add to our content. Where ever you are! 

editor@farmideas.co.uk   M:  07778877514   

 the farming optimiser - since 1992


 4,500+ ideas devised by working farmers

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