Comment: Decent incomes for farmers have to be at the heart of sustainable agriculture policy
As the dust settles on this year's Ploughing we find ourselves approaching the end of a very challenging year with unfortunately far too many empty spaces remaining in silage pits and barns up and down the country.
While the recent spell of dry weather has been a great help and I have some nice aftergrass coming on after my second cut, my hoped-for surge in late summer growth has not really materialised.
I probably have only myself to blame as I don't use fertiliser on my grazing ground and neither do I use concentrates to finish my cattle.
Perhaps I should explain how I came to adopt this low cost/low input grass based production system in the first place.
When I first took over running the family farm, I like most farmers did the usual soil tests and started applying the recommended amount of fertilisers as well as established a 21-day rotational paddock system.
However, after a few years I began to notice that in spite of my increased output my income remained very static.
I started to do a few sums and I discovered that there appeared to be no crock of gold waiting at the end of the more intensive farming rainbow - in my case the increase in output simply did not justify the extra cost.
I then started feeding meal to help finish my cattle on grass but after a few years I stopped and surprise, surprise I saw very little difference except that I had no expensive feed bills to pay and neither did I have to compromise my GM-free stance.