Comment – The difference a week makes, and the cost of straw.

On the back of only 197mm of rain, so far, in April, it has dried up, and the sun is shining. I can’t tell you how nice that feels.

So, with a spring in my step, your humble correspondent reports a successful spring nutrition campaign. Yes, the fertiliser (both bags) has been applied, not quite variable rate (with the exception of the usual misses and overlaps), but at least in fairly straight and evenly spaced lines, thanks to the GPS lightbar and lovely wee App in my phone. I feel like a proper, precision farmer.

Elsewhere the talk in the mart cafe revolves around the now eye watering cost of straw, for those who haven’t turned out yet, even finding any is becoming a challenge. A cousin deals in hay and straw in South West Scotland and he has desperate straw customers, and he can’t find any, anywhere. At least DEFRA have drawn a line under growers throwing their whole farms into winter bird seed at £800+ per Ha, with a maximum of 25% per holding. So there should be some straw.

Across the water, in Ireland, its getting desperate, as the government, in their wisdom paid the farmers to chop their straw (and increase their organic matter) on the assumption that straw would flow south over the border. Given the wet winter, Northern Ireland now has no straw. This has knocked on to the UK market, with artics now heading across the M62 to Holyhead and the A75 to Stranraer, laden with ‘six stringers’.

In the space of a week, there has been a huge amount of muck spread, spring barley and wheat thrown in, maize land prepared and fertiliser applied, so UK farming is up and running again. Which should put a bit more of a spring in the trades step.

Elsewhere in the news Tesla have recalled nearly 4000 of their Cybertrucks (I’m still waiting for the diesel) , and the EU has agreed to phase out 90% of new diesel trucks by 2040 (you can guess what’s coming next)

Back to the fertiliser spreading though, even at £320/tonne it’s still worth spreading in the right place, at the correct rate, and looking forward, I think synthetic fertilisers will be here for a long time to come, see for some blue sky thoughts.

We all love that phrase ‘business as usual’!

Have a good week.