Close encounters of the agricultural kind

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
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Re: Close encounters of the agricultural kind

Postby Paulatic » 10 Aug 2018, 9:20pm

Postboxer wrote:Those average farm sizes seem very low, I don't know what they count as a 'farm'. It would be good to see a breakdown of numbers of farms of different sizes, the average may be brought down by large numbers of retired bankers and ex pop stars who have bought a house with a field and called it a farm.

If you own land it has an agricultural holding number the first 2 numbers identify the county the next three the parish and last four identify the farm. Your pop star's land will have a holding number whether he farms it himself or a nearby farmer utilises it.Every holding number can be selected for the annual June census
I suspect your avg farm size is derived from census results and, I believe, will always give a figure below what farm businesses actually farm.
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Re: Close encounters of the agricultural kind

Postby pete75 » 10 Aug 2018, 10:31pm

Paulatic wrote:
brynpoeth wrote:A lot of work is done by contractors because ordinary farmers cannae afford to buy big machines

I disagree. The reason contractors are used is because of the labour that comes with the machine. Farmers can’t afford to employ a man 52 weeks and only use him for a 30weeks In the year.

Also when people here are quoting farm sizes I think the figures they are using are holding size. A farm business can consist of many holding numbers. A business using multiple holding numbers can be beneficial (ahem), in many ways, to the farmer.

A lot of farmers don't employ anyone though. Around here relatively small arable farmers with maybe 600 or 700 acres tend to do all the work them selves maybe taking on a temporary tractor driver or two for corn carting during harvest. A small farmer these days is basically a manual worker whereas 40-50 years ago he would have been a manager employing maybe 10 men and a foreman. Even a 6,000 acre farmer I know spends a lot of time on a tractor or combine seat.
The cost of machinery is one of the main reasons contractors are used for example I was told to make owning a modern beet harvester feasible you'd need to be growing about 2000 acres of beet. Few if any farmers grow that amount.

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Re: Close encounters of the agricultural kind

Postby Bmblbzzz » 11 Aug 2018, 12:00am

Some agricultural stats for UK: ... ed_Kingdom

And for whole EU: ... statistics

Czech Republic has by far the largest farms, with utilized average area in 2013 just under 140ha, followed by UK and Slovakia.


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Re: Close encounters of the agricultural kind

Postby DaveGos » 11 Aug 2018, 11:22pm

I cycled back from the Pyrenees through France to Dieppe last year travelling 750 miles. I counted only 2 large tractors , the type that are standard in the UK for which it is unusual for me to do a ride and not encounter 10 in a morning , always with a very large trailer behind

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Re: Close encounters of the agricultural kind

Postby basingstoke123 » 14 Aug 2018, 12:25am

Bmblbzzz wrote:I'd say the vast majority of agricultural vehicles are considerately driven, but there are some which seem to be driven by lunatics. I've always assumed these are the contractors paid by the job, but I don't know. As for the size of vehicles, I've seen some amazing ones round Somerset in the last couple of weeks. One last weekend had tracks at the front, wheels at the back and the cab was so high off the ground you could literally have walked underneath it. It was wider than a lorry but it was the height that really impressed. I've no idea exactly what it did.

Sounds like a combine harvester. Yes, they range from big to bigger. Cab at the front, and rear wheel steer? When travelling, the (pick-up) head is removed. ... bv58RzCjOg

Self propelled silage harvesters are (usually) smaller.

Contractors are normally paid by area for ploughing, drilling, combining etc, and by the bale for baling. But the urgency is more to do with the farmer needing the job (crop harvested) done in time.

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Re: Close encounters of the agricultural kind

Postby Bmblbzzz » 14 Aug 2018, 10:44am

Yes, it was one of those. Logically, at this time of year! Significantly bigger than the one which used to harvest my in-laws' small field. I can only wonder how big they get in Kansas!

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Re: Close encounters of the agricultural kind

Postby MikeF » 14 Aug 2018, 5:29pm

"It takes a genius to spot the obvious" - my old physics master

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Re: Close encounters of the agricultural kind

Postby Jon Lucas » 16 Aug 2018, 9:38am

Well as the OP, yes I know, but as I said, it is about always being aware of what other traffic might do in those circumstances and being able to make decisions very quickly accordingly.

Reading that report, there are some similarities, one of which is when the incident happened, in the early evening. As has been said by others, large tractors may well be driven by contractors who have been working a very long day and are only paid for the harvest they bring in. So it is very likely they will be wanting to get back quickly and be less than aware of other road users than they should be.