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Sudbury Farmer remains strong as crop prices hit a low

By Uttoxeter Advertiser  |  Posted: August 06, 2014

DEGM20140730D-002_C.JPG DEGM20140730D-002_C.JPG Picture by: Geoff Merryweather

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A SUDBURY farmer is staying upbeat about this year's bumper harvest of wheat – despite prices for the crops being at rock-bottom.

High confidence in the global market has driven prices down beyond the cost of production, meaning farmers look unlikely to make any profit from some of their wheat crops – despite a good summer helping to boost the amount of crops produced.

But Anna Massey-Fryer, who farms 500 acres of combinable crops from Sudbury Park Farm, said farmers were good at coping in a tough market.

She said: "At the moment prices are very down and I certainly can't see anything happening in the next few months.

"Pretty much everyone must be under the cost of production and that's tough, but it's not just us – everyone's suffering.

"In all aspects of farming things are tough at the moment, but we find ways and means of looking at it positively and getting through."

Other crops grown through the year on her fields, some of which run alongside the A515 between Ashbourne and Sudbury, include winter barley, oilseed rape and winter oats.

Better weather than last year has meant the crops are 25 days ahead of where they were this time last year, and the harvest has got off to a good start.

She said: "We're only a third of the way through the harvest and have so far done the winter barley, which wasn't record-breaking, but it wasn't poor either. The winter wheat looks promising and the winter oats look promising."

However, a mild winter this year meant the crops kept growing while they should have been dormant, which left them open to diseases and resulted in more work for farmers to keep their crops healthy.

The fact that more work has gone in to the crops, along with the poor prices on offer, mitigates the good news of a bumper crop at harvest time.

David Brookes, Staffordshire county chairman for the NFU, said: "We are obviously anxious about the price of cereal as it is the lowest it has been for a number of years.

"It is making an impact on the cereal harvest, but we have had a couple of good months. The summer has been better, with good conditions, but we are still in the harvest season at the moment.

"The reduction in the cereal market is having an impact on the livestock family."

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