Whinge, whinge, whinge; that’s all we ever seem to do, but with farmers’ confidence at an all-time low and more than 40% of farmers considering their future in farming (according to national statistics), The NFU is now campaigning for the basic payments phase-out to be halted in the wake of the ongoing crisis. 

Arable, mixed farming and livestock appear to be at the bottom of the scale.  With confidence at its lowest ebb for many years, it seems to be undermining a willingness to reinvest, which in turn is damaging food security.   Farming is a volatile market at the moment, global markets have weakened and the sector is having to deal with the basic payments phase out, climate change and an immigration policy that is not fit for purpose.

Add into the mix high interest rates, increased working capital requirements, environmental agency compliance and many more issues and there is a total lack of confidence among most farmers. Many farmers are struggling with day-to-day cash flow.  Farmers in the main are “asset rich but cash poor”.  Surely the Government needs to act now.

The top 10 agricultural producing countries in the world are China, USA, Brazil, India, Russia, France, Mexico, Japan, Germany and Turkey.  These countries all produce a wide range of agricultural products, including cereals, fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy and seafood.  Their agricultural sectors are crucial for their economies and they play a huge role in the global agricultural economy by exporting their products to countries around the world.

Each country has its own strengths and weaknesses and specialities in agriculture. For example, Japan has limited arable but places a huge focus on high value crops like rice, vegetables and fruits. Turkey is a large agricultural producer and is known for its production of grains, fruits, vegetables and livestock products.

Meanwhile here in the UK we are encouraged to grow wild flower meadows and place a large proportion of our land in various conservation schemes.  In Wales, I believe it is now compulsory to include 10% of land in schemes from 2026.  Large amounts of grade 1 arable land have been placed in various schemes around the country, thus removing the land from food production.  Five years of guaranteed revenue from the scheme is more appealing than employing staff, running tractors etc. Time is of the essence and the Government needs to act now to preserve the country’s food security.  Will farmers reinvest after five years? I doubt it.

Back on the farm and Monty had a few barren ewes that he decided to sell through the market.  On the designated day a few unexpected events occurred in the dairy and we had to postpone the trip.  When walking past the field in the afternoon, we spotted a newborn lamb; no signs from the ewe (she scanned empty) but all appeared healthy and bonny.  A lovely surprise for Teddy when he returned from school.

First cut silage is now complete and grass is regrowing at an amazing pace.  Second cut won’t be far behind.  The combine is serviced and ready to go; all we need is some more sun. The year seems to be flying past.  We had the most amazing views of the Northern Lights in the middle of May (who needs a trip to Iceland when we have them in the back garden?)

Until next time, stay safe and happy mowing!