We’ve agreed on a trial separation – 12 months, and we’ll see how we feel. I’m putting on a show of being very calm and considered about it – objective even.

But I feel like it’s a betrayal. After everything I’ve done, all the misguided faith I’ve placed and all the investment I’ve made – the expression ‘let down’ wouldn’t begin to describe the aching emptiness.

I am, of course, talking about the oilseed rape harvest. It’s not a heap in the barn – it’s a trickle. It’s an excuse for the crop I once called the best performer on the farm. Now I can’t even bear to crunch the figures because it’ll be just too depressing.

So big decisions need to be made, and this is when they arise – everything hinges on harvest, and your hopes for it. The wider the results swing from these expectations, the bigger the decisions.

Right now, I’m considering my rotation, and in my book, arable decisions don’t get much bigger. I’m honestly not sure it’s wise to shake at the very foundation and risk a collapse. Or is it only by doing so that I identify the weaknesses in my system and build a stronger future?

What I want is for someone to tell me what to do – how to deliver an unshakable 5t/ha yield, or the stunning break-crop alternative. I won’t get that, but if I keep an open mind and search for information, what I will get are suggestions, snippets of experience and advice, some of which will just make perfect sense.

Beyond the page

It’s a job to know just where this particular copy of CPM has ended up – is it on the breakfast table, in the farm office or in the tractor cab to fill in time while you wait for the combine to unload? Or is it in the downstairs loo, with this page draped over your left thigh?

Well perhaps it’s not even a paper copy at all. You can now get CPM on your PC, tablet and even smartphone – we’ve relaunched the website and we’re loading all the articles from this issue, as well as much of the past content, on to the site.