After a year of booming prices it still pays to be cautious as you plan ahead
L ast year will be remembered by most tillage farmers as the year that grain prices exceeded all expectations. Unlike their fellow farmers in Britain, very few had forward sold grain and were able to obtain better market prices for produce.
However, it was not all good news as potato prices were poor. The only solace for spud men was the fact that prices would have been disastrous if the export market had not materialised.
Some of the smaller potato growers who do not have good storage facilities are losing potatoes due to frost damage.
Damage is most likely near external walls and on uncovered areas of stores.
Growers are finding that frost covers, used in the past for sugar beet, are very effective. Others have covered potatoes with more than two feet of straw and have still suffered damage.
Demand for fodder beet is still very slow. Most fodder beet is harvested, but frost damage has occurred in less well protected clamps.
Unharvested beet has suffered considerable damage and losses will be high. Ensiling of late-harvested fodder beet worked very well on some farms last year. Crops were harvested with a Tyregod, which left rotten beet behind, and were then washed and chopped. The chopped beet was then mixed with 15-20pc citrus pulp or soya hulls and ensiled.