The East Coast line must have been travelling at particularly high speed in 2011 – it’s gone so fast down the track I can hardly recall what has happened.
One thing, however, does stand out. Northumberland and Durham look as well as I have ever seen them and the farming year has – well come on, let’s face it – been for most, fantastic! That long spell of snow was hard work for the livestock boys, but most people came out of it well and it has been a great grass and forage year. Harvest and redrillng for the 2012 crop, has been as good as I have ever seen it, and commodity prices have been – great! However, if you fall asleep “on the track” at Alnmouth and end up over the Border you suddenly descend into another world where the harvest and “back end” has been a nightmare because of too much “wet stuff”. Go the other way down the line into East Anglia, and they grew some of the most pathetic crops you will have ever seen due to not enough water and the prospects for availability of water in 2012 look particularly grim. Take a look at the “financials” of farm business in these various locations, and you will see hugely differing pictures.
Which takes me onto the subject of risk. Anybody who participates in a trade or business is taking a risk with the cash they invest. The theory is that the higher the level of risk, the greater the level of return you should expect. Here are some thoughts for 2012 going down the track:
Some other thoughts occurred to me as the countryside rushes by:
My one piece of advice for 2012? Get on the train and look out of the window beyond the farm gate in order to try and understand what threats, and indeed, opportunities, are coming down the tract to meet you.
Click below to view all of the news articles in our archive.View the Water-Value news archive