Now is the time to make the most of June

9 April 2014

Spring has definitely sprung – the warmer, longer days are helping the autumn drilled crops race forward and the welcome dry spell is allowing plenty of timely field work. Even on the heavier land, the spring seedbeds, although a little tricky to achieve, are looking good with the sun on their backs. All in all, a very different and considerably more positive outlook for crops than this time last year.

Chief Crop Inspector

My Chief Crop Inspector checking a field of recently drilled spring beans.

With the constant call of the tractor cab and the deadline for SPS applications looming, it’s easy to race through April and May without giving a thought to June. But, I would urge everyone to do so now to make the most of the useful break in field work that the month usually brings. I’m not just talking about nipping down to the travel agents to catch some of those last minute deals before harvest!

Chief Crop Inspector In OSR

The Chief Crop Inspector checking for pollen beetle in a crop of winter oilseed rape.

Very soon, postbags will be weighed down with invitations to visit the various stands at Cereals, complete with the promise of free drinks, bacon rolls and sun hats/umbrellas (depending on the weather). The date – 11 and 12 June is not really that far away and needs to be in diaries now to make sure it’s not missed.

Cereals is the key event in the arable calendar and, being right in the heart of the east region at Chrishall Grange, near Duxford in Cambridgeshire, there is not the deterrent of a long journey to get there. As usual, AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds will be there in force and all of us Regional Managers are looking forward to the opportunity to meet the thousands of growers from our respective regions who are expected to visit our stand over the two days.

So, whether it’s choice of variety, fungicide performance, cultivation costs or the markets that you’re interested in, don’t miss this great opportunity to glean free information, advice and new ideas. You can follow all the preparations and plans for the two days at:

In stark contrast to the current agricultural technology which will be on display, one of the stars of the AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds stand will be a 70 year-old veteran – a Massey-Harris 21, the world’s first self-propelled combine. Bought by the father of its current owner, Peter Wombwell, in the early 1960’s, the machine is based only a few miles from the Cereals site and is still used occasionally for clearing up small areas of crop. Investing in such a combine would have been a big decision at the time. We’ll be comparing the relative costs and outputs of this machine with today’s technology to illustrate the differences over the past 70 years.

June will also see the on-farm launches of our two new Monitor Farms in the region – towards the end of that month, everyone will have the chance to meet the two farmers, see their businesses and hear about how the programme will develop and the opportunities to get involved. The dates will be well publicised, but for an early heads-up, keep an eye on our Monitor Farm pages at:

In the meantime, there are plenty of other events throughout April and May, including a number of ‘Meet the Processor’ and ‘Meet the Exporter’ days: take a look at

Finally, my top tip for the month is…save our ‘Markets’ webpage as one of your favourites so you can easily keep an eye on the latest market movements:

UK wheat prices are largely determined by global events, for example the uncertainty over the Ukraine situation or concerns about soil moisture levels in the main US wheat growing states. For expert analysis and the inside track on these latest developments, this part of our website is a must.

New Litter For Spring

The Chief Crop Inspector’s wife with recent arrivals – another sign that spring is here!



Tim joined AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds with more than 20 years of farm business experience in the East of England. Based at Huntingdon, Tim previously worked at the CLA, where he was Regional Adviser for the East of England. Trained in agricultural business management, Tim has also worked as a farm business consultant, specialising in the direct management of farms and contracting arrangements.