Comment – Time travel or the spring of discontent?

What is going on? With New Hollands Basildon plant being balloted on strike action, waterlogged ground across the nation and a poor long range forecast, one could be forgiven for having a cup half empty this week. And for those with long memories that Labour government in the 1970’s.

Although the lights have stayed on and there isn’t rubbish piling up in the streets (yet), a change of government in the near future does not necessarily bode well for farming. As many pundits have said, it’s all well and good wanting sustainable farming, but it has to be profitable, and thats the current issue. We trade on confidence, if there’s no confidence, there’s no trade. Plus historically Labour have not been particularly friendly to farming, and despite the climate concerns it’s not a priority like say the NHS.

The issue in the arable farming world, is that of a difficult autumn with low established areas of winter crops, providing an assumption of spring drilling, which in the main has not come to pass yet. My 6 acres of oats remains in the bag (to be fair we will be fine as long as its broadcast on with the vari-spreader by the end of May!) and we are not alone.

Back to New Holland, I daresay with current dealer stock levels, blue dealers won’t be too worried in the short term regarding supply issues, but it’s an indicator of the wider world.

Whilst industrial action of this nature is unheard of in the UK, let’s not forget that the feeling behind the action, of being unfairly treated and not being paid fairly for the work, sounds familiar. Thats because it’s a similar sentiment to all those folk driving tractors and protesting across the UK and mainland Europe.

It’s worth remembering that economies cycle, and perhaps on the tail of a great boom for agriculture and the supply chain, it should be no surprise that world events are taking their toll. Despite the cup feeling half empty today, the land will dry, we will get some decent weather (I sincerely hope) and crops do have a habit of growing.

Have a great week.