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Harvest in Europe and other musings…

by Aug 19, 2010International Perspectives

It has been a while since my last post but I can assure you, it has been a busy few weeks. Harvest in terms of small grains is completed in the southern and central parts of Europe. In the northern part it is mostly the wheat that is left. It seemed that to start with it would be a reasonably easy harvest but in the last couple of weeks, it has rained in a lot of areas which is of course slowing things down. From what I am hearing, yields are generally normal and nothing earth shattering. However, due to a poor harvest and low yields in the Ukraine and Russia, prices for wheat have increased which has pleased a lot of farmers in Europe. As usual, I have been travelling around quite a lot. The last week of July saw me in France visiting some customers and helping set up a yield monitor. I was in the Chalons en Champagne region of France which is a very pretty part of the country. As the name suggests, this is an area known for its champagne, but alas I did not get to taste any!

Harvesting barley in France.

After spending a week in the UK with Andy Boyle doing some hardware training, I am now in Europe again. This has been quite a trip so far with 1100 kilometers under my belt in four days! My ‘tour’ started near Leipzig where I was visiting one of our German distributors (Kress & Co) and a customer for some OnTrac2 training. Unfortunately the weather was not playing its part so hands-on training was somewhat limited but nonetheless worthwhile. Next stop was Neustadt in Holstein near the Baltic Sea to visit customers and dealers as well as calibrate a yield monitor. Again, the weather was wet so we were not able to harvest whilst I was there so it was a case of static training using simulators. There were also some questions and issues to discuss over numerous cups of coffee! A common site on my recent trip![Only thing to do when it is wet, discuss the weather!

A wind turbine being erected in France by the 400t capacity Terex CC2800-1 of Dufour. This is part of a wind farm comprising of at least 10 turbines that I could see. I should also probably note here that heavy lifting and heavy haulage is one of my hobbies so seeing this was a real treat!

One thing that has been a common site during all these miles of driving is the wind turbines. Whilst I claim to know very little about German environmental policies, it does seem to me that there is an awful lot of investment going on here into alternative sources of power. The same is also true of France and the UK where wind turbines are being erected at quite a rate. So this got me thinking. It seems that almost anywhere I go these days; it is not only agriculture that is using technology to make more efficient use of available resources. In much the same way that a grower is looking to make the most out of their seeds, fertiliser, diesel and chemicals by adopting technologies such as automatic section and auto steer, nations around the world are also looking to use all available technology to make the most of the natural resources available to us, whether that be wind, solar or other types of natural resource. So whether or not you believe in climate change, one thing is for sure – technology is being adopted in all walks of life to help us make the most of what is available to us whilst also considering the natural environment around us.

These solar panels were fitted to a barn on a German farm I visited. All power generated is being sold back to the national grid at a guaranteed price for 20 years. After this time the farmer can decide whether to continue with them or not.

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