Happy days are here again........ it is just amazing how the whole mood of the farm can lift once the sun comes out and the combine roars out of the yard and trundles off into the fields to gulp down a crop of barley or rape.

I came back from Bryony's after a day or two baby-sitting for Oliver whilst they went to a wedding, and the roads were choked with tractor and trailers carting home tottering loads of barley. At one time they must have been about fifty vehicles behind a lumbering John Deere and its trailer, but I never begrudged an extra second of my time as I was just delighted that the agricultural vehicles were on the move again.

As soon as he could safely do so he pulled over and let the line of traffic by. I do not think the toots he received were of thanks from most vehicles, more of a "about time too" response.

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Mind you, any other industry would not be so pleased that prices were only returning to what they were a generation ago, but we are delighted. John has even heard of one farmer who has sold his wheat forward at nearly 150 a ton. Lottery numbers as far as we are concerned.

It is now clear that the Government will be abolishing set -a side, currently set at a compulsory 8 per cent. When wheat was 60 a ton it was just not economically viable to grow wheat, but just watch the land being ploughed up this autumn. There has already been another break with tradition. The Environment agency has recognized the desperate state of forage in the countryside, no-one has been able to make any hay, and is allowing farmers to make hay or graze set-a side land for their own stock.

For full feature see West Sussex Gazette August 8