Rarely has there been a more crucial time for the industry’s renowned resilience and innovation to shine through.
As with many other industries, the coronavirus pandemic has certainly had a profound effect on farming enterprises around the UK, with some sectors taking a bigger hit than others.
Dairy farmers in particular have had a tough time. As the catering and hospitality trades closed down virtually overnight and the established supply chains couldn’t be adapted quickly enough in order to redirect production to retailers, dairy farmers had no option other than to pour away fresh milk and potential profits down the drain. There was a ‘double whammy’ on product demand as people who would normally eat-out as part of their normal social routine were forced to eat all their meals at home, and their consumption habits changed accordingly. The coffee shop staples of milky cappuccinos and lattes were a thing of the past as were indulgent cream-filled cakes and desserts.
Meat producers were hit in a similar way when the restaurant trade was forced to cease business with little or no warning. The steaks ordered in restaurants gave way to more economical meal alternatives in the home. This proved to be a serious problem for livestock farmers and meat producers who traditionally strive to “balance” the carcass between expensive and cheaper cuts.
Meanwhile, potato farmers had to deal with a reduction in farmgate prices of around 50% as fish and chip shop businesses and the catering trade in general hit the buffers.
Cereal growers, whilst not as badly affected as other farming sectors, have still had to contend with supply chain glitches and labour shortages as a direct result of the pandemic. Of far more concern to arable farmers are issues such as our increasingly unpredictable and extreme weather patterns currently wreaking havoc on this year’s harvest and drilling plans, the continuing uncertainty surrounding Brexit and future international trade deals, how to deal with pests such as cabbage stem flea beetle and light leaf spot collectively responsible for ravaging oilseed rape crops across the country, not to mention the seemingly perennial problem of managing blackgrass and other weed infestations.
And yet, in the midst of adversity, we have seen the resilience and innovation of our farmers and growers shining through the darkness.
Many farmers explored different ways to market, from veg boxes to vending machines. Whilst others who had diversified into offering accommodation and tourism, and who have weathered the lockdown storm when all leisure-based travel was forbidden, are now seeing the fruits of their endeavours as holidaymakers favour staycations over trips abroad.
In a rapidly changing market, we have seen many farmers re-engineer their crop rotations accordingly. There has been increased adoption of agri-tech and sustainable farming techniques, which, together, are delivering real environmental benefits whilst increasing yields.
Farmers are also rising to the challenge of finding new and cost-effective ways of maximising the productivity and versatility of their tractors, be they existing machines or new ones yet to be specified and ordered. This, of course, is an area in which Lynx excels and we have seen high numbers of enquiries across our product range from Stoll front loaders and Zuidberg front linkages, PTOs and rubber track systems, to front-mounted weight packages, Dromone pick-up hitches and Flexxaire reversing fans.
Just like our farmers, Lynx-equipped tractors are ready for almost anything!