COLUMN: Agriculture took a massive blow in 2012

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Hayley Rhodes, of Primrose Hill Farm, Wragby, works in trials. She writes - Welcome to 2013, and goodbye and good riddance to 2012. 2012 will certainly be remembered for the awful weather and the wettest summer on record. Also agriculture has taken a massive blow this year with below average yields, appalling drilling conditions, falling milk prices, rising feed prices and high input costs, there is no wonder that famer confidence has been badly knocked.

For some farmers it will be hard to get back up again as you can only keep getting knocked down so many times and you will start to question if it’s worth it all. Though the industry certainly has a future and always will, everyone needs fresh produce and meat. For some parts of the industry it needs to be made more viable with sensible feed prices, input costs and good end produce price. The problem is supermarkets are one of the main culprits for controlling the price and they certainly are not taking into account the cost of producing most produce. More needs to be done to stop supermarkets ripping farmers and growers off and a little appreciation won’t go amiss either.

In December we had a short cold snap with night temperatures falling below -5 degrees and day time temperatures struggling to get above 2 degrees. This was a very short respite from the ever destroying slugs and actually allowed some the opportunity to get onto the land and do a little bit of drilling, or something along those lines in a fashion. Unsurprisingly there is still a bit of drilling to do but the drilling window is getting smaller and smaller and the chances of getting a decent winter crop are starting to diminish. Spring cropping is certainly going to be the next option for many farmers who still have fields that need filling with something. Some of the later drilled crops have struggled to emerge with the saturated grounds and the risk of being attacked by the slug.

Much of the earlier wheat that was drilled will hopefully nearly be at the growth stage where the slugs can’t do much more damage.