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Thread: New Strategy!

  1. #1
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    New Strategy!

    Grain now down 30 to 50% on like for like contracts done last year so how are folk changing their strategy to growing the stuff? Looking around just now it would seem there is no change, just crashing on as before. Many first wheats already rowed up and getting chemical hosed onto them and second wheats going into warm seedbeds and air temperature around 20 degrees....is there much chance of any return on these crops with forward values around 110 per tonne?

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    Re: New Strategy!

    Quote Originally Posted by pig fighter View Post
    Grain now down 30 to 50% on like for like contracts done last year so how are folk changing their strategy to growing the stuff? Looking around just now it would seem there is no change, just crashing on as before. Many first wheats already rowed up and getting chemical hosed onto them and second wheats going into warm seedbeds and air temperature around 20 degrees....is there much chance of any return on these crops with forward values around 110 per tonne?
    If the press is to believed apparently this has been a perfect storm of black grass in the East. Manufacturers have looked us in the face and told us no new Atlantis for 10 years plus, use ploughs, drill later, use spring crops etc etc etc. NONE of the big names have any answers. One tech rep suggested some farms in the East are now up to spending about 1 tonnes worth of wheat on grassweed control alone. I thought of having to dish our recs like that brings me out in a very cold sweat.

    Not being funny but by drilling early is the thinking that they will then have more time to spray on their 'stack' of chemicals before the weather breaks?

    I don't know about you growers but the chem manufacturers must be cock-a-hoop. There has to be a change of plan or we are all going to hell in a hand basket, thats before we get talking about price.

    OSR is a prime example. With the price where it is, is it really worth doing? Or are we missing a trick and all these guys have cleverly sold 2015 forward already at higher prices?

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    Re: New Strategy!

    Round here everyone seems to be planning on experimenting with beans this year and appear to be hoping no-one else has thought of it. If it is repeated at a national level there will be a bean mountain like nothing we've ever seen before at next harvest
    Stay in Northamptonshire - meadowviewcottages.co.uk

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    Re: New Strategy!

    Yep - I predict Beans to be much lower price very soon - masses of them being grown around here too!

    The only saving grace may be that the better availability may mean they are used in dairy feed to a greater extent, so may at least return something!

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    Re: New Strategy!

    Quote Originally Posted by Einstien View Post
    Yep - I predict Beans to be much lower price very soon - masses of them being grown around here too!

    The only saving grace may be that the better availability may mean they are used in dairy feed to a greater extent, so may at least return something!
    Beans cannot be universally used in animal feeds.

    Firstly, they contain Tannins which means they can't be used in huge amounts.

    Second, they are only about 20-21% protein. At 200 a tonne it makes no sense to use them, not when rapemeal is more like 30-35% protein, and costs less than 180.

    I have a few guys growing spring beans too but they tend to feed them to their own stock.

    In any event, got to be a better bet than OSR for now.

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    Re: New Strategy!

    For me it is later drilling for my winter wheat to reduce chemical costs.Also have reduced the ploughed area since contractor prices up again and after using the Rapid as a direct drill last Autumn with good results . Another change is some direct drilled mustard crops to be direct drilled with alternative wheats Bellipi and Mullika late Autumn or Spring....the lower yield potential of these wheats is less important when the grain price is low. Oats area will be halved to be replaced with green fallow and maybe Spring OSR if the market lifts by drilling time. Will sell crops as I drill them and then just drive costs to the bone and let the arable thing tick over while I push on with pig numbers.

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    Re: New Strategy!

    Ah, I suppose at least with pigs on the place you can benefit from lower protein costs and have no P & K costs at all plus a vastly reduced nitrogen spend.

    Certainly beans in your position will work well. I wonder also if ground ear maize would work well. Certainly I have seen pigs fed wholecrop wheat, this would be better again and of course gives you a different crop to grow and it would be pretty cheap to do if your ground is already loaded with fertility.

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    Re: New Strategy!

    back of a good harvest.... yes prices have fallen but it's a long time until next one and perhaps we're getting used to volatile prices.....it's a bit like the old investment 'chestnut' i guess...'prices may go up or down and you may get less than you started with'

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    Re: New Strategy!

    Quote Originally Posted by Uwork4menow View Post
    Beans cannot be universally used in animal feeds.

    Firstly, they contain Tannins which means they can't be used in huge amounts.

    Second, they are only about 20-21% protein. At 200 a tonne it makes no sense to use them, not when rapemeal is more like 30-35% protein, and costs less than 180.

    I have a few guys growing spring beans too but they tend to feed them to their own stock.

    In any event, got to be a better bet than OSR for now.
    I was with you up to "At 200 a tonne...." That's the point, I predict Beans drop well below that which may push them into parlour feed....

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    Re: New Strategy!

    Quote Originally Posted by Einstien View Post
    I was with you up to "At 200 a tonne...." That's the point, I predict Beans drop well below that which may push them into parlour feed....
    They do go in cow food at 200 a tonne I used to buy load after load of them. But they are still dear compared to rapemeal and lower protein to boot.


    Of course they will drop in value but then all proteins are weakening.

    You can't just substitute all protein for beans no matter what their price.

    I like them though, cheap to grow, can be direct drilled, easy weed control and cheap on fertiliser. Just a shame they harbour all sorts of weed and filth underneath but there we go.

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    Re: New Strategy!

    If average wheat yields have not increased in 20 years despite the increased use of nitrogen fertiliser , the growing of 'better' varieties , the advent of t0 t1 t2 t3 t4 t5 etc and herbicides that no longer work, then surely we should be stepping off the treadmill, going back to a variety (say Galahad) that worked with 1 herbicide and 2 fungicides and growing in a low cost system. As someone on here said 'stop believing the advice of those who make more the more they sell' i.e plant breeders and agronomists. Rant over.

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    Re: New Strategy!

    Quote Originally Posted by custard View Post
    If average wheat yields have not increased in 20 years despite the increased use of nitrogen fertiliser , the growing of 'better' varieties , the advent of t0 t1 t2 t3 t4 t5 etc and herbicides that no longer work, then surely we should be stepping off the treadmill, going back to a variety (say Galahad) that worked with 1 herbicide and 2 fungicides and growing in a low cost system. As someone on here said 'stop believing the advice of those who make more the more they sell' i.e plant breeders and agronomists. Rant over.
    I have some wheat popping through now and agronomist comes haring up the drive to kick start the absolutely essential aphicide/herbicide cocktail...may be worth chucking in a bit of manganese while you go through... I mentioned that my budget output for this crop had dropped on the year by 220 per acre based on the wheat market so how did he think we could change the input plan to suit...his comment was he hadn't even thought about crop value!!

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    Re: New Strategy!

    He's right they are absolutely essential, but essential for who ??? shiny shoes and shinier cars don't come cheap. (even i am starting to feel uber cynical !)

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    Re: New Strategy!

    Quote Originally Posted by custard View Post
    He's right they are absolutely essential, but essential for who ??? shiny shoes and shinier cars don't come cheap. (even i am starting to feel uber cynical !)
    I don't have shiny shoes and anyone can tell you my car is never shiny.

    Ultimately it you don't trust your guy why are you using him?

    I take a lot of my guys around with me, and show them what is going on and in the process they learn the job as well. Net result, they feel happier with the service and feel less worried about the whole process.

    An aphicide will not be required until later on after your deter has run out and then only if it is still mild. Anyway given its very low cost can you really afford not to.

    As for manganese etc these have to be assessed on a case by case basis.

    In any event if you are looking to trim costs your chemical spend is probably the last place to do it- Pig fighter in particular, maybe you should be trimming the fertiliser spend??

    No one is forcing anyone to do anything, its the growers own choice and risk, and ultimately if the crop isn't worth you growing it why did you drill it in the first place?!

    The chemical spend is a tiny part of it- you have already shoved probably 100 an acre on it already with drilling, cults, plough and seed costs taken into account. Even if I was some kind of super agronomist and saved you 20 an acre, what difference will that make to the overall profitability of that crop? Not much. If 20 an acre swings you from profit to loss then you probably shouldn't be growing it.

    Doesn't make any difference to me personally what people do or do not do in terms of crop spend as I am not paid commission.

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    Re: New Strategy!

    Quote Originally Posted by custard View Post
    If average wheat yields have not increased in 20 years despite the increased use of nitrogen fertiliser , the growing of 'better' varieties , the advent of t0 t1 t2 t3 t4 t5 etc and herbicides that no longer work, then surely we should be stepping off the treadmill, going back to a variety (say Galahad) that worked with 1 herbicide and 2 fungicides and growing in a low cost system. As someone on here said 'stop believing the advice of those who make more the more they sell' i.e plant breeders and agronomists. Rant over.
    Do it then.

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    Re: New Strategy!

    Quote Originally Posted by Uwork4menow View Post
    No one is forcing anyone to do anything, its the growers own choice and risk, and ultimately if the crop isn't worth you growing it why did you drill it in the first place?!

    .
    It was me who opened this thread,the reason being to see if anyone was changing their ideas on the back of a 40% drop in farm output...the optimum cropping plan and input regime may have changed all other things being equal. My own projection is that many crops will be soaking up SFP this time around....

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    Re: New Strategy!

    Quote Originally Posted by Uwork4menow View Post
    Even if I was some kind of super agronomist

    Don't worry your not !

    Doesn't make any difference to me personally what people do or do not do in terms of crop spend as I am not paid commission.
    I suspect you will have targets to meet .

  18. #18
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    Re: New Strategy!

    Quote Originally Posted by Uwork4menow View Post
    I don't have shiny shoes and anyone can tell you my car is never shiny.

    An aphicide will not be required until later on after your deter has run out and then only if it is still mild. Anyway given its very low cost can you really afford not to.

    and so the treadmill begins for another year, PF was asking for new strategies not same old.
    As for manganese etc these have to be assessed on a case by case basis.



    No one is forcing anyone to do anything, its the growers own choice and risk, and ultimately if the crop isn't worth you growing it why did you drill it in the first place?!

    Correct on all counts
    Doesn't make any difference to me personally what people do or do not do in terms of crop spend as I am not paid commission.
    Good, flat rate per acre is the way forward or are you salaried by the spray company ?

  19. #19
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    Re: New Strategy!

    Quote Originally Posted by custard View Post
    Good, flat rate per acre is the way forward or are you salaried by the spray company ?
    I am salaried, same as everyone else.

    I would not work on a per acre basis. It would not work in this area, we have mixed crops and a lot of grass. I enjoy the variety. In any event, why should anyone have to pay me to take an interest in their business?

    Today I was walking a load of new leys, recently drilled wheats and soil sampling and I also got to see some of my maize prior to it being harvested. No consultant agronomist can afford to do work like that. I bet they are all out there now running around like madmen making sure their herbicide stacks are going on, or their rape isn't being obliterated, one bloody great farm after the next, no doubt their clients moan like hell about chemical spends nonetheless anyway.

    Also I actually enjoy finding new business and cold calling, it is a very rewarding job getting new business and actually being able to help people.

    If I was going to be a consultant I would do it in Hampshire/Wiltshire or something where you can walk hundreds of acres in a day and stop the car about 3 times, not the ass end of Somerset.

    I am friendly with a couple of independent guys. A proper consultant charges 7-8 an acre for 22 visits throughout the crop's life. The fee goes up if roots or specialist stuff like veg or herbs are involved. They don't do grass, its pointless, and they both walk about 10,000-15,000 acres each on a number of medium and large units- so lets say they earn 100K or there abouts before their costs and tax. Below a certain area it becomes pointless for them to get involved- dairy farmers growing 50 acres of wheat, for example, if you visit that farm and crop even only 10 times, the cost in fuel alone much less your own time becomes stupid so they don't go looking for it. They both think I am mental because they have an easy life and never have to go cold calling or look for new business, they turn up, tell farmer what to do and off he goes. Different ball game finding new business, helping with variety, seed, rotations, manure, fert policy, soil sampling, organising lime, deciding on spray programs, checking if wholecrop is ready etc etc, which is all why I enjoy it so much. I have worked in the big arable and contracting game before and it all seems to be one big merry-go-round. There is little to be changed or done in the arable world. Mixed farming though, we have a more blank canvas and I enjoy the challenge of it- I actually take a lot of pride in seeing perfect grass leys or maize or whatever, knowing full well the value of it to the stock farmer. Also I have a prior background in dairy and livestock so I am quite well placed to bridge the gap between the cropping and animal worlds.

    If I was that keen on huge arable farms and big fields and walking 30,000 acres or something similarly daft I would move to the US or Australia immediately, which to be honest does appeal to me quite a lot.

    The only thing I envy about my independent buddies is that they have much nicer cars than me. Two guys I knew several years ago had pokey estate cars, one had an RS6 and the other a Scooby wagon. Not sure I would get away with that in my area, having already had a lack of ground clearance earlier this year.

    Ultimately I work for a little family business, who pride themselves on service and have no intention of being the cheapest in the market and never will be. Doesn't stop them having some very large customers who have remained with them for many many years so some people must appreciate their philosophy.

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