Selling decisions and an update from Royston Monitor Farm

Sitting in the office 9 months pregnant, restlessly waiting for my baby to appear – I’m not sure is the best time to be making large scale marketing decisions of a crop that’s not even in the ground yet, but I am, so hey ho!

Last week I sold 13% of our 2015 harvest wheat for £140 base price and I am toying backwards and forwards with a spring barley contract at the moment for 50% of our 2015 crop for harvest movement at £150/t . The question is whether to lock in a premium or split the parcel to spread the risk (potentially at a £13/t difference)??? It’d be a lot easier to bury my head in the sand and do nothing but after turning a deal down last March for 850t wheat at a base of £155/t and instead doing four loads there’s a voice screaming ‘be brave!’

Life outside is much easier. We got all drilled and pre em’d in good conditions and three or four pre-drilling roundups on in most cases. We have decided to only do autumn Atlantis or not at all so the decisions have been made to do about 75% of our wheat and the rest will go untreated (in theory) as there’s no black-grass there yet. All the OSR has had its Kerb and the mustard is standing up to the frosts well.

On the farm in Hampshire the mustard had a happy accident and was drilled into a cultivated seedbed rather than direct… It’s now over 1m tall which poses a problem for cultivation so we have a grazier going to give it a go and hopefully leave us with something more available and more manageable!

With this year’s increased acreage we have been looking forward to the arrival in Feb of our new sprayer – only to be told this week it’s not coming until June at best – so another season of depreciation on ours that I guess we pick the tab up for!



Jo Franklin is a partner in her family farm and grows approximately 970ha of combinable crops just to the west of Royston, Hertfordshire. Jo also has 230ha of grassland for 1,000 New Zealand Romney ewes and runs a 400ha mixed arable and cattle unit in Hampshire. Jo has a keen interest in soil and crop health, and uses a number of precision farming techniques to ensure accuracy of application. She is currently developing a commercial grain storage facility on-farm. Financial viability and pushing yields are her other main interests.