A great time of year for tillage farmers to catch up on dreaded paperwork
For most tillage farmers January is a time for catching up on paperwork and trying to keep out of all this wild weather. We had a grain assurance inspection early in the month and it motivated me to start all the other office work I put off until now.
The grain assurance scheme is a voluntary scheme which we get inspected on every year. It gives growers, buyers and consumers great confidence in the whole 'farm to fork' concept.
We record exactly how we grow the crop and our facilities. It is also a great record to keep for the future. I am always amazed how fast I forget what field grew what in such a short time.
I also used this chance to start our nitrates plan to figure out what and how much fertiliser we will be using this year. I have heard since last autumn about it being cheaper this year.
We forward bought some at the time. However, I have seen this pattern before. Well before we start spreading, you can get it cheaper and then by the time we need it, it is either the same or more expensive than the previous year.
Despite the wild weather, what I couldn't postpone were all the farmers that needed soil samples taken, including ourselves. We cover the Kildare area for Teagasc. Anyone needing soil samples taken had to get it done before the slurry went out.
I really don't understand who is making the decision that slurry was not allowed to be spread during December when we had great soil and weather conditions. Now the fields are waterlogged and the slurry storage is at the maximum. Most farmers, especially the dairy farmers, have to get slurry out as soon as possible.
We left the warm office and paperwork and ventured outside. Normally we enjoy travelling around to farmers and chatting to them about farm life. January was a different story, with the rain lashing down on top of us. As the sleet and hail stung our cheeks it ran down the inside of the waterproofs.