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November Update

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

It’s a time for celebration because we have finally finished drilling. We have nearly 2000ha of rape of which most should yield depending on the early winter weather.
Its cold now but we do not have slugs or pigeons. Charlock is proving to be our big problem with limited spray options. Most rape has had a bit of fertilizer and all got grass weed control where needed.

Wheat and Barley amount to 1950ha with early drilled going ok. One of our farms is under water for half of it and that is why we are 350ha short of our drilling target. About half the cereals are emerged and most of the later drilling went into good seed beds at relatively high rates so let’s hope for a decent result with glyphosate used for all apart from last season’s spring rape which cleaned the ground very well.
We are currently trying to cultivate all the spring grounds in near perfect conditions at the moment which will help a lot for next spring. I am trying to remove the massive weed bank with stale seed beds but it takes time and money.

We are contracting 130k south of here near the Romanian border cutting maze at 35%, nice drying bill but the combines are going well.

We have lots of broken machinery and we are just starting to sort a long list of scheduled works for the winter. First job is to build a workshop heater and put some proper lights up (40w bulb in large shed?)

Some of the lesser talented staff will be going to the unemployment office with some government training for free once they are officially unemployed.

I have been getting quotes for grain storage and handling equipment which we hope to construct in the early spring depending on funding and weather. The concrete season is well over but at least we could start to clean the site. I hope planning will not cause to much of a problem……………………well nothing that cant be sorted in the traditonal Ukraine methods.

Crops are very hard to sell at the moment with all of Eastern Europe in a similar position. Next year storage or trains will be our salvation I hope

AGCO are still not playing the game so a court room date may well be looming but they do want to use our farm as a demonstration site !!

Im now off to negotiate with the local café to do a harvest super as a thank you for the staff, we are haggling at $3 per man so we will see.

Regards Mark