The Farming column with Sam Walton

Everything was ready for the winter wheat when 2.25 inches of rain fell in 24 hours.
Everything was ready for the winter wheat when 2.25 inches of rain fell in 24 hours.

A Ford 5000 or similar tractor used to cost around 30 tonnes of barley.

Today the equivalent tractor needs 400 tonnes to buy it, so where have we gone wrong?

It either means that manufacturers and dealers are making their teeth meet or farming has improved it’s efficiency so much to be able to withstand that increase.

Perhaps it is in line as at the same time back then land would be around £1,000 per acre. Now land is a minimum of £10,000 for good arable land and a local farm recently made £18,000 per acre.

However, none of that helps a tenant farmer who sees his costs rising all the time and income falling.

So why do we do it? The answer is always that it will be better next year!

Either that or we need our head examined! Farming is not just a business but a way of life which is as far removed from a nine to five job as can be. I would hate to have an office job and I would hate even more to be a commuter.

Occasionally I need to set off for a farm visit which sometimes coincides with the morning rush hour.

I don’t know whether I admire them or feel sorry for them standing in traffic for long periods, wearing their engines out and using expensive fuel.

Then of course there is always one or two who have to get past you no matter what and the risks they take.

Why not just set off five minutes earlier?

Having had decent crops of Winter Barley and Oil Seed Rape, everything was poised for starting on the winter wheat when 2.25 inches of rain fell in just 24 hours.

That to the uninitiated is 225 tonnes per acre!

Well at least I didn’t have to water the garden.