I am the contract farm manager of Perrotts & Canons Farms and my company carries out all field operations for the tenant farmer Mrs Roe. I have worked on the two farms for nearly twenty years, both for Mrs Roe and her late husband David.
In 2016 we grew wheat for bread making, barley for real ale and beans which have been exported to Egypt for human consumption. We also make hay from the grass fields that is sold during the winter months to local livery establishments.
In recent years we have gone to great lengths to become ‘Farm Assured’ and are therefore able to sell all of our produce under the ‘Red Tractor’ label that you will have seen in the supermarkets.
Amongst many other requirements, this label is evidence that the crops are completely traceable back to each field and that all products used are done so within strict guidelines.
We are audited by the scheme each year and any discrepancies in our records, which are extensive, would result in a suspension of our approved status. As you can imagine, audit day is even more stressful than harvest!
From a contractor’s point of view, this year’s harvest was the easiest I can remember for many years. The long dry spell during August meant that we didn’t need to use the diesel drier at all and we were able to combine late into the evenings.
However, the late, cold spring had a negative effect on yields and the prices we are receiving now for the crops is similar to those we received in the 1980’s.
As we approach autumn and the evenings start to draw in, we are busy trimming some of the hedges and sowing the seed for next year’s crop of wheat. We try to get this sown before the ground becomes too wet. You will also have seen lorries leaving the farm over the last few weeks. We do not have enough storage for the entire harvested crop, so some is taken straight away, with the remainder being sold during the winter and spring.
Next time I will explain some of the conservation measures we take on the farm and how we do everything we can to ensure that we farm alongside nature and not at its expense.