Blankney Farm Update – 1 September 2023

Better weather recently has allowed us to complete our winter and spring beans, dry peas and winter wheat harvest, with the last crop remaining, April drilled spring barley – this is not yet fit to be harvested.

Overall, the harvest has been disappointing; wheat crops entered the early part of the spring with good potential – however – the hot and dry conditions in early May and June robbed us of grain set, which has reduced our yield by 7% below our 5 year average. This is a similar story for peas, beans and spring barley.

Cover crop establishment is not new to Blankney – we have been doing this for 15 years and we continue to see the benefits with soils full of fibrous roots, going into our winter and spring crop establishment.

Forage harvesting continues and our grass yields are excellent. We are now concentrating on harvesting lucerne.

Finally, this week we learned that our Environmental Land Management Agreement – SFI Soils – will be terminated in February 2024. As an early adopter of delivering sustainable soil management for public goods, we will now be penalised and prevented from entering SFI 2023, until after that date. This incurs a significant financial penalty and is not motivating us to have any confidence in entering new schemes – that said – we do agree with the principles, but we are extremely disappointed with the delivery.