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 Post subject: A perfect storm
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 12:53 am 
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One of the (many) stories sitting on my files to do was an article picked up from the front page of The Yorkshire Post on Saturday, developing our own report last Thursday on the dire state of the UK wheat harvest. Coincidentally, the story was picked up yesterday by the Mail on Sunday and thence by Watts up with that.

View full article here

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 Post subject: Re: A perfect storm
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 11:26 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2005 10:00 pm
Posts: 635
Another fantastic post, Dr. N. - perfect for a morning's read as I watch the drizzle puttting a halt to today's combining plans!

A couple of observations. I have just decided to abandon my plans to sow Oilseed Rape this year. The ground where I was going to sow it is wet and rutted after last week's combining, ideally it should be in the ground by now, and - having done some back-of-the-envelope sums - it's not worth growing now that fertiliser has gone from £190 last year to £390 this growing year. I'm quite looking forward to not having to spend the whole winter battling against the pigeon population, who made such a mess of it last Jan/Feb. It would be lovely to have organised pigeon control days, but the bunny-huggers put a stop to that a couple of years ago. So there'll be 92 acres of 'set-aside' or OT1 as the forms so romatically put it nowadays. The walkers/riders/balloonists/poachers will be pleased, though.

And yes, the subsidy cheques are going to be back as the most essential parts of the farm income. We're approaching the most vital time of year on that front - the date when they decide which pound/Euro enchange rate they're going to use for the conversion of our cheques to Pounds. I think it's the end of Sept; last year it was around 65p/Euro, and this year - if it stays where it is - it'll be around 80p/Euro. This should offset the 'modulation' (whereby ever increasing chunks are lopped off our cheques, and given to numerous comedy 'agencies' to think up schemes for us to join (thus creating more employment) as the only way to get some of that money back) and means that this year's Single Farm Payment should match last years. We're nervously anticipating that Mr Brown will spot this, and hurriedly invent some unprecendented claw-back scheme.

As for farmers and their attitude to the EU. There are still a few seventy-something-plus farmers who talk about the Common Market, and praise it. they're the ones who did so well in the seventies of course. One of my neighbours and I used to row continuously about it, but now even he has been converted! The turning point for him was when the Cross Compliance booklet arrived, listing the permissible activities on his farm. He says he remembers the days when the law listed what you can't do, not gave you a list of what you can.

Finally, thanks for pointing out that this weather "could have serious consequences for British arable farming – and thus the rest of us". It's a delight to know that not everyone has forgotten the link between farming and the rest of the world.

Another lorry has arrived. Must go and load him.

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 Post subject: Re: A perfect storm
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 1:51 pm 
If you guys have some spare rail cars, maybe we can make a deal:

Across the country, from grain elevator to grain elevator, golden wheat and corn are piled in towering mounds, waiting for a rail car to haul them to market.

Some grain can sit for a month or more on the ground, exposed to wind, rain and rats.

It's the dark side of the booming global demand for U.S. corn, wheat and soybeans. The surge in exports is revealing inefficiencies in the country's railways, highways and rivers that carry the grain that helps feed the world. And those bottlenecks are costing farmers, shippers and ultimately consumers millions of dollars a year.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/chr ... 63466.html


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 Post subject: Re: A perfect storm
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 2:12 pm 
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Location: Bradford
JohnC wrote:
If you guys have some spare rail cars, maybe we can make a deal:

Across the country, from grain elevator to grain elevator, golden wheat and corn are piled in towering mounds, waiting for a rail car to haul them to market.

Some grain can sit for a month or more on the ground, exposed to wind, rain and rats.

It's the dark side of the booming global demand for U.S. corn, wheat and soybeans. The surge in exports is revealing inefficiencies in the country's railways, highways and rivers that carry the grain that helps feed the world. And those bottlenecks are costing farmers, shippers and ultimately consumers millions of dollars a year.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/chr ... 63466.html


Yes, I read that with interest and have marked it down for a post. It makes an interesting contrast with my post here:

http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2008/0 ... blues.html

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 Post subject: Re: A perfect storm
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 2:29 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2005 10:00 pm
Posts: 635
JohnC wrote:
If you guys have some spare rail cars, maybe we can make a deal:

Across the country, from grain elevator to grain elevator, golden wheat and corn are piled in towering mounds, waiting for a rail car to haul them to market.

Some grain can sit for a month or more on the ground, exposed to wind, rain and rats.
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/chr ... 63466.html


Blimey! Don't tell the ACCS - who annually inspect our Britsh farms, squealing with horror at a slipped slate on the grain store roof; I only just qualified for my 'License to farm' (which is issued by ACCS inspectors) after a stiff telling off for not recording in the correct book the date that I had washed the grain trailer!

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