December has so far been a reasonably quiet month for us on the farm, though has given us the chance to get our benchmarking completed and to get through the backlog of office work – as well as prepare for our SQC and QMS inspections.

As the weather has remained wet there’s been no chance of us getting any winter ploughing done and the ongoing wet weather has also meant we have one field of carrots which has still not been strawed down.

Looking back at information from the weather station we have on farm, 2019 has been the wettest year since the station was put there in 2014. We’ve also had a bit of snowfall this week, and as I write this I am gazing out the window at the falling snow and at my car, which is currently wedged perpendicular across the farm track – though it wasn’t me that got it stuck there!

Hopefully, the snow will be short-lived as, though it looks bonnie for the festive period, we could really do with some dry weather.

We have managed to get on with some seed dressing this month and are dressing a lot more on farm this year than we did last year. We’ll dress between 200-500 tonnes on farm, with what’s not dressed on farm leaving bulk to be dressed in a static plant.

We like to get a good chunk of the dressing done before the New Year in the hope that the weather will improve in the not too distant future and we can prioritise field work, rather than being stuck in the shed with the dresser.

Our new tractor, a Massey Ferguson 7719S, arrived last week and it was nice to see it home. We also bought a Trimble RTX GPS system which we have had fitted to it and our intention is that we will use this tractor for the majority of the spraying and fertiliser spreading, taking some of the burden away from our five-year-old MF 7624 at peak times.

We had been using that for all the sowing, spraying and fertiliser spreading as it was our only tractor fitted with GPS. This will, hopefully, mean we can get pre-em herbicides and liquid fertiliser on earlier in the spring as we will no longer be waiting for the sower to be hooked off before getting on with these things.

We’ve also paid a bit extra to get it so we can move the system from the new tractor into our MF 7726, which although it is our biggest tractor, we’ve never had fitted with GPS. We’re told it should just be a 10-minute job to take the system out of one tractor and move it into the other, but we’ll see if that really is the case, or if it takes a computer tech person 10 minutes to do it, but actually takes folk like us two hours!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a dry 2020!