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AgriFacts December 2019 Your monthly roundup of news, prices and other farming matters

Challenging conditions require appropriate agronomy Everything was going so well until the heavens opened during the third

If conditions allow the drilling of winter wheat and beans between now

week of September.

and the spring, they will need a very tailored approach to seed rates. More importantly, if we do get to drill in January, we need to focus on appropriate agronomic inputs to maximise output related to yield potential. One crucial aspect of the recent heavy rains is the crops nutritional requirements. Soils will have a depleted nutrient reserve and root development will have been restricted due to waterlogging. Stressed plants will need assistance early in the spring to retain tillers and maximise rooting, meaning timely applications of nitrogen and sulphur. Now is a good time to monitor drainage, ditches and mark outfalls.

Whether you are a half empty or half full person, we certainly have full grain stores after harvest 2019. But unfortunately, next to the grain heaps we have pallets full of seed, a chemical store full of residual herbicides and a notebook full of different drilling plans and alternative crops. Dare I even mention oilseed rape (OSR) and the hectares lost to cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB) this year. Our industry is under huge pressure. In the Midlands, I would estimate that only 30% of winter cereals are drilled and much of the OSR has either disappeared or is now under threat from CSFB larvae and waterlogging. With a nation focused on Brexit and a general election, we have vegetable and root crops as well as maize still to harvest and only a small percentage of arable crops drilled this autumn, which has barely made the news. The challenge now is to keep those crops we have planted alive, free of weeds and turning a profit when establishment has been so challenging. We also need to make some sound decisions on what to plant when the weather finally allows growers to bring the drill out from the shed again. With such a large area of the country unplanted, spring seed prices have increased to eye-watering levels, which means achieving a decent return, given the high seed rates of spring barley and wheat, is a challenge. However, we have winter wheat seed in stock that is bought and probably paid for and a commodity price that is on the up. The majority of winter wheat varieties can be drilled until the end of January and some, including Skyfall, until the end of February. Similarly, winter beans can be planted into February.

I am currently spending time with clients discussing various cropping options, changing rotations and constructing formatted plans per field. To aid with this, the team at Indigro have developed a gross margin rotational planner to help agronomists and land managers to better assess the impact of later drilling and yields, cropping changes, the risks attached to certain crops, including blackgrass and disease pressure in the rotation, appropriate inputs and financial returns. The tool also looks at the implications for the whole farm arable enterprise over an extended length of time. We feel this provides support when constructing rotations and aids decision making on inputs and budgets. Taking a step back to assess the situation, making appropriate plans and being ready to take advantage of any opportunity the weather may afford is vital. As I am a glass half full kind of person, the good news is that we wanted to delay drilling due to blackgrass and BYDV pressure and we certainly have done that! David Boulton, Agronomist

2019 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) Payments:

Flooding advice and grant, The Farming Recovery Fund:

The window to start receiving BPS payments opens on 1st December in England.

The government announced on 13 November it will extend its Farming Recovery Fund to support those affected by the recent flooding across Yorkshire and the Midlands. The scheme enables farmers whose farms have suffered damage past the ability of insurance companies, to apply for grants between ÂŁ500 and ÂŁ25,000 to aid with repairs.

Farmers and landowners are being urged to be extra vigilant for fraudsters. Payments for 2019 agri-environment schemes are also due to begin from early December.

The RPA is currently working on the criteria and mechanism for applications to the fund. Further scheme details are not expected for a few weeks.

Market Prices Month (ex farm) Midlands

Feed Wheat

Feed Barley

Oilseed Rape


December 2019




£/€ = 1.17

January 2020




€/£ = 0.86

February 2020




$/£ = 1.29

Milk Data

Avg Monthly Price

UK Farmgate Milk Price

29.68 ppl





Red Diesel


34% N AN (bags UK) £/tonne


Big sq Baled Wheat Straw


0:24:24 blend (bags) £/tonne


Big Bale Hay


20:10:10 blend (bags) £tonne


p/kg dwt

Finished Steers

Finished Lambs

Finished Pigs




The Woodland Carbon Guarantee: Farmers and landowners looking at alternative ways of generating income are being advised to sign up to a new government tree planting scheme. The Woodland Carbon Guarantee is a new scheme launched by the Government which incentivises landowners to plant trees on their land by ‘selling’ the carbon dioxide the trees capture in the form of ‘carbon credits’. Fisher German are recommending the scheme and to read more from one of our experts, Julie Wade, please click here

Key Dates Date


Restriction If you have a two-part tariff agreement for your water abstraction licence, expect to receive your second part charge after 30 November.

30 November

Cross compliance

1 December


You need to carry out your annual inventory of sheep and goats. To be completed and returned by 31 December 2019.

1 January

Cross compliance

You can apply organic manure with a highly readily available nitrogen content (for example, slurry, poultry manures or liquid digested sewage sludge) to grassland and tillage land on shallow or sandy soils from this date if conditions are suitable and you adhere to the quantity restrictions for application of these manures.

1 January

Cross compliance

Beginning of the year for assessing the annual amount of livestock manure applied to your land.

16 January

Cross compliance

You can apply manufactured nitrogen fertilisers to grassland and tillage land from this date if conditions are suitable. 01858 410200

Fisher German is a limited liability partnership, registered in England and Wales. Registered number: OC317554 Registered office: The Head Office, Ivanhoe Office Park, Ivanhoe Park Way, Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire LE65 2AB Regulated by RICS Fisher German LLP has tried to ensure accuracy and cannot accept liability for any errors, fact or opinion. Please do not use this as all the advice needed to make decisions.

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Agrifacts December 2019  

Agrifacts December 2019