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UPDATE: Five dry days??

26 October 2012

A message from Dr Tina Barsby, NIAB CEO

NIAB TAG trials teams across the country report that they need five consecutive dry days to catch-up. It is currently fine at Cambridge (Friday 26 Oct), but it has rained again at our Sutton Scotney site this morning….

The continued wet weather has severely delayed autumn drilling for farmers and UK trialling organisations. We are receiving reports of trials and commercial fields being abandoned due to problems with seed supply, failed establishment, slug damage and poor drilling conditions. As the largest field trials operator in the UK we are affected by these problems more than most, and unfortunately there may be some instances where we, as others, will have to admit that we have done all we can.

We are working hard to deliver what we can from what has been an unprecedented year. Our teams are flat out: we have three drills working at Cambridge across the weekend to take advantage of the forecast for drier weather.

The difficult year was the main topic of conversation at an agri-industry event I attended last night, as I am sure it is around the country. Furthermore, there are concerns that the quality and quantity of next year’s harvest will be severely affected. It is reassuring to see how supportive everyone is to each other – a blitz spirit has definitely kicked in - with a plea for tolerance, an agreement to work together and a recognition that the industry faces issues which are beyond anyone’s control. Agriculture is a long-term business. The organisations and businesses involved will not allow short-term difficulties to disrupt the relationships and trust which are the foundation of providing a secure supply of safe, good quality food and feed.

Come next harvest we sincerely hope conditions will be better and this autumn will be forgotten. At any rate we might all be better prepared.