After the disappointing start to harvest that I reported last month, we have now enjoyed the most brilliant weather in the first half of August as local farms have brought in good wheat yields of excellent quality.

As on so many farms our dedicated workforce have worked long hours to make the best of the conditions and we are more up to date than in living memory.

One of the most frustrating issues has been the inability to get hedges trimmed before field cultivations begin.

It must be even more frustrating for any birds who decide on the unusual step of nesting in hedges during August.

Under recent EU and Defra regulations field hedges must not be trimmed before September 1.

However there is no such rule for garden hedges, roadside hedges, council hedges or even any farm hedges surrounding fields destined for oilseed rape.

These rules must be a delight for a bureaucrat but imagine any poor bird flying around, wondering which is a gardener’s or roadside hedge and which is a farmers!

I was recently lucky enough to sit next to a delightful, non-farming lady who asked “what will you do on the farm tomorrow?”. If she is reading this, here is the result:

  • 5.30am Woke up and started to plan the day.
  •  6.30am Got up, checked weather forecast including wind speeds for spraying-off peas and general likely conditions for combining.
  • 7.15am Met partner and staff in farmyard. Drivers move off to service and diesel up machines and prepare for day’s harvesting.
  • 8am Driver who is cutting grass on edge of field reports a problem. A neighbour’s fence has partially collapsed on to our side and the flail cutter has got caught in it, ripping up about 10 metres of fence and damaging the mower. He cannot get out of the tractor cab as the incident has also pulled up a wasp’s nest and the neighbour is now delivering abuse from his bedroom window.
  • 9.30am I’m escorting a combine from one field to today’s workplace. I seem to have a tremendous amount of friends as lots of motorists are waving to me. I must keep my temper but the phrase “don’t criticise farmers with your mouth full” comes to mind.
  • 10.30am At last I’m on my own tractor, cultivating some stubble. Another farmer phones me on the mobile to say my friend from Wivenhoe has written to the paper again, this time telling me that it wasn’t the insects which ruined last year’s oilseed rape crop. I just wish I knew that much about crops without looking at them. It would save so much effort.
  • 11.30am Message to say “please get off that tractor and go to Bury St Edmunds for some combine parts”. There are always risks in farming alongside major roads and this time the combine had “swallowed” a steel jockey wheel someone had discarded. Two valuable hours’ combining lost.
  • 1pm Grab a sandwich, call at the office and check the markets. It’s good news, the value of the pound has fallen and wheat has gone up 5%. Sell some. (it went up another 5% after that!)
  • 2pm to 9pm the typical day continues but no more space in this article…
  • I still love farming.