We finished gathering in the crops with the combine harvester by 8 September in spite of the efforts of the thieves.  The yields of all crops were down as would be expected from the late spring and very dry summer.  The good news is that the quality of the winter sown wheat is well up to scratch and should be of bread making quality.

Some winter sown crops have already been planted as there is a need to get them to a sufficient size to survive the winter months, in particular oilseed rape which is devoured by wood pigeons if it is too small.  And my apologies to the residents of Adderbury Fields for the smell of poultry manure!  There is some evidence that the use of this product reduces the ravages of the cabbage stem flea beetle and also reduces the need for inorganic fertiliser later on.  While we hoped that you might well be on holiday when the application was made, it should be another nine years before the crop rotation reverts to winter oilseed rape.

The other winter sown crop that we have planted so far is linseed.  This crop should on average be slightly less risky than the spring sown variety.  In terms of yield, it should produce more and because it is earlier to harvest it should be easier on the combine.

Trade negotiations and movement of goods with our European partners seem to be hot topics at the moment.  I can report that most of our linseed has to be crushed in France and the finished product brought back to the UK.  Why we cannot process it in this country is a mystery to me.  Egg producers also have their problems.  There is a desperate shortage of egg boxes at the moment as these are also manufactured on the continent.  I gather there is a factory about to be constructed in Scotland but it won’t take any orders at the moment.

Finally my plea for the month is for farm safety.  Farms are notoriously dangerous places and more people are using the footpaths and bridgeways for recreational purposes.  We would like to see them but not when ambulances might be involved.  Firstly might I ask the person on a black bicycle who wears a blue crash helmet and rides down the bridle track from Berry Hill Road to the Papermill at a very fast speed to be a lot more careful and to realise that combine drivers and tractor drivers cannot look round corners or hedges and cannot hear your bicycle bell.  A 19-tonne combine is not going to give you a soft landing and neither is a smaller tractor either!  Also there was a red jacketed HSBC man riding a bicycle who very recently overtook a tractor on the left hand side which was also turning left.  The same comments apply to him!  Also please make sure the tractor driver knows you are there.  Thank you.

Robert Stilgoe

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