Farmer meetings, from Devon to Germany
21 July 2014
Well, it’s been a truly memorable and very busy time since I last wrote. Our Varieties Open Day at Duchy College demonstrated true varietal differences to Septoria in a most challenging year.
On 20 June, we had the first Monitor Farm Open meeting with Julian Gold at Hendred Farm Partnership in Oxfordshire. Challenged by selling crops this year below the costs of production, Julian is really getting to grips with his systems. The first focus is going to be on the true cost and return of precision farming. Calculators to the ready for the autumn meeting on 21 October.
As can be seen from the picture (see below), the next inaugural Monitor Farm meeting with the Lee family in Devon was held in equally splendid weather. Once again farmers got to grips with the business in break-out groups. The focus of discussion was the work load of the family, the cost structure and the true returns for all their various enterprises.
From a visual perspective the crops looked fantastic, particularly the beans right up on the hill, which had received very little input. We wait with anticipation for the next meeting on 18 November to look at the AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds CropBench+ analysis of yields and costs of production.
I was lucky enough to also be part of a RDPE-funded study trip to Germany with the SW NFU Crops Board. Our visits included John Deere, BASF, a Farmers Symposium and three really fascinating farm visits. On the latter, the ‘can-do’ attitude and mood of cooperation were two defining characteristics of the farmers we met. This had enabled expansion over generations and also the ability to enjoy plenty of kit on relatively small farms.
We were pleased Germany won their football while we were there, and of course we enjoyed some traditional hospitality too!