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Tue 26 September 2023
Andrew Robinson, director of the professional team at Andrew Granger & Co. reflects on the tenant farmers harvest this year, and just how resilient and inspirational these people are.
Harvest 2023 has been an absolute rollercoaster. Stop. Go. Stop. Go. Rain. Sun. Rain. The long, dry June was followed by one of the wettest Julys on record.
Some farmers harvested early and gathered in the crops only to have to pay to get the grain dried before it could be sold. Others gambled, left it and left it and then raced to get it in during an early September mini heatwave. It’s always so hard to know what to do for the best, and the gamblers, this year, were right.
Then, the later harvested crops were so dry they were too dry to be sold at full price so at the very end of the harvest, farmers were harvesting at night to bring in a cooler, moister crop!
This year’s harvest has gone on for much longer than is usual nowadays. The last field of winter barley in Leicestershire was gathered only last week – just before a storm.
Overall, the harvest has been better than expected but much lower wholesale prices were achieved compared to last year.
Dairy farming this year has also been fraught, with the rises in milk prices received by dairy farmers due to the impact of Covid, now reversed. Efforts are now being concentrated on making grass into winter feed for the cattle.
The prospects for the dairy sector are not as encouraging as we had hoped for now. Lowering production costs is essential and having robots to milk cows is a real thing and being considered by many for the first time.
So many curve balls are regularly thrown at the farming community, who in turn have learnt to adapt and react quickly as nothing is a given. Farmers are a formidable workforce, passionate and proud of the job that they do so next year’s crops are already planted, and the next farming cycle is firmly underway.