Tales from the Farm:  An Introduction from Duncan Lee, Farms Manager 
10 February 2020
Tales from the Farm:  An Introduction from Duncan Lee, Farms Manager 
We began as farmers and we have stayed as farmers, and as such it is a huge part of estate that we are particualrly proud of. Every month, we'll be hearing from the farm to see what they're up to and get an inside point of view from them which you can read about here. 
Let’s just say, 2019 was a case of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly! Good, because harvest on most crops were well above average. Bad, because the weather from late September has been atrociously wet, so wet in fact that most of us have never experienced such bad weather in our farming careers. And Ugly, is the only description I can use for any oilseed rape crops. 

Farming is an industry that has a unique set of challenges, mostly governed by the weather. I remember a saying often used by one of my fellow farm workers: ‘worry about the things you can do something about’. A great saying, but hard to appreciate when it rains constantly, but then again, I would be a rich man if I could do something about the weather! 

So, as it stands it looks like the 2020 season is going to get very interesting. February has arrived with no let-up in the weather and under 50% of the winter cereal crop is in the ground…don’t even ask about the oilseeds! With this in mind, imports are almost certainly guaranteed, and we will probably struggle with our current port facilities and transport fleet to import enough into the UK to satisfy demand. That being said, the market always seems to find product from somewhere, so don’t rush out and fill your freezers with bread and cakes just yet (maybe cakes just because it’s always nice to have a surplus of cakes, I deem them an essential household good to be honest). 

The good news is though, that the new distilling wheat Spotlight is in the ground and hopefully – fingers crossed- the weather will allow us to plant spring barley for the brewery. The date for any more winter wheat planting has virtually gone, a little thing called ‘vernalisation’. 

As always in farming, the next instalment is never guaranteed and will no doubt throw up a few curve balls. For the team here on the estate, we look forward to the next chapter. Yes, it’s been frustrating, but we have kept our sense of humour. I’ve got to thank all the guys on the farm for their patience, with only ten days spent on field operations since 19th September, boy, we have certainly needed it! Here’s hoping for a dryer spring!