Valderstad, the global manufacturer of cultivation equipment and seed drills, recently bought together farmers, dealers and suppliers from across the UK at a conference that included global industry experts offering farmers their opinions on the future opportunities, challenges and threats to be faced.
Nobody really knows what the full impact of Brexit will be on UK farming but it is known that farmers are going to have to be more competitive and become better produce marketers, said Vaderstad. New market opportunities are there to be won and therefore future prospects for the future are exciting.
Speakers included Guy Smith, NFU Vice president and heavy land arable farmer in Essex, Ed Salmon a UK arable farmer based in Norfolk who talked about soil management and technology and his experience of diversification opportunities, Adrian Dyter from Crisp Malting who gave the company’s thoughts on opportunities for UK farmers to compete on a global playing field, Poul Hovesen talking about his work on Salle Farmers on the Holkham Estate and Nicholas Brooks a farmer from New Zealand giving his opinion on what he would do in the current UK situation.
Nicholas told the audience that climate change predictions in the UK suggest that extreme weather events are likely to become more common with the potential to damage crops and reduce output. He advised farmers to investigate more irrigation and water storage opportunities, adopt new technologies as soon as they are approved and participate where possible in research.
“One of the keys is rotation,” said Nicholas. “The biggest problem in my view is running a cropping system that is probably unsustainable. For example, heavily cropping land with no pasture or restorative phase etc. Investigate other crop options and markets. Focus on gross margin per ha per year versus one single crop for example arable and forage crops, double cropping opportunities and be flexible each year. Looking at machinery farmers should think about greater use of contractors versus ownership and collaborating with neighbours,” he added.
Vaderstad see themselves at the forefront of developing new technologies and said their customers expect them to keep bringing forward new ideas.
Despite a challenging 2016 it has been a strong start to the new year for Vaderstad. Jan Enfold the company’s marketing director said, “2016 has been a challenging year with widely differing market situations. Some markets, such as France, have faced the lowest harvest volume in 40 years. At the same time, other markets such as Russia and the Ukraine have benefitted from record yields.”
It has been a good start to 2017 with sales volumes already ahead of the previous year. The development is especially positive in England, Sweden and Ukraine, whilst the situation is still somewhat dampened in France and Germany,” he added.