The Farming Column with Sam Walton

Drilling barley with a power harrow.
Drilling barley with a power harrow.

I mentioned two weeks ago about how early the spring was in 1973 when I came here and how we had finished drilling by around the 12th February.

In contrast this year we finished the barley drilling on 16th March.

Stubble is manured, ploughed and harrowed.

Stubble is manured, ploughed and harrowed.

So if the old saying, “longer in bed, heavier in head” is true, then the later the drilling the lighter the crop, could also be true.

I expect it will depend a lot on the remainder of the growing period from now to harvest but it does make me wonder if the years ahead will be different.

We seem to lack proper seasons now and it really does make things difficult to plan for.

Utopia must be a nice place to live, where everything is perfect including the people!

If that were so in farming as an example, we would be able to produce exactly what the market wanted, no shortages and no gluts.

That way we would have the same price all the time and none of the ups and downs we currently get which does make marketing difficult.

Some farmers might have a crystal ball, I don’t, mine is clouded, so I usually take the wrong price and find that by the time my product actually goes to market, it has increased to at least break even level! I suppose that if I had a brain I would be doing something different!

Another thing which really has surprised me is the price of good agricultural land.

It must be being bought by people who can afford to farm it at a loss for a number of years and then hope the price increases again.

I am aware that a lot of business money has gone into buying land as it helps towards not paying tax on some of their capital gains.

So what happens if ever land price crashes, what would they do then?