Next year uncertain without more rain

AT the time of writing I have recorded 34mm of rain in October, which makes a total of 332mm so far this year.

We now have a soil moisture deficit of 150mm or six inches to our groundwater supplies, which has caused most of our dykes to dry up completely and green algae to form on the surface on the rivers and reservoirs.

While the shortage of rainfall has not had a severe impact on my farming operations at Poolham, my winter cereals have all emerged and are looking well.

The outlook for next year’s harvest is uncertain unless the winter rainfall rectifies the soil moisture deficit.

We have also been extremely lucky in this area, catching heavy showers running on the east of the River Witham.

On our other farm at Heckington, only 15mm of rain has fallen in October, which is not enough to reach most of the seed drilled in bone dry soil.

However, on the lighter patches there was just enough moisture to germinate the seed and the soil has dried out around it.

Unless there is significant rainfall in the next week, some fields will have to be re-drilled as this germinated seed will die.

After 11 years of work, my Massey Ferguson combine is to be replaced.

Unfortunately, the model has been discontinued and their alternative machine has a much larger capacity than my own and comes with a substantially higher price tag.

I am currently looking through a range of glossy brochures at green and yellow combines, trying to decide which, if any, will be the best alternative for me to buy.

The changes in technology with electronic gearshift and adjustable sieves to make a cleaner sample while on the move may slightly increase output – but at a price.

In my experience it is nearly always an electrical fault that causes an agricultural machine to break down today, rather than a mechanical breakdown.

Even good maintenance will not tell you when a relay will stick or a senor break.

Finally, I would like to remind members of Horncastle National Farmers’ Union that the annual general meeting will be at the Bull Hotel on Thursday, November 24.

The NFU’S new general director, Kevin Roberts will be the guest speaker.

Members of Coningsby NFU have their annual general meeting at Woodhall Spa Cricket Club on Wednesday, November 30 and the guest speaker will be national deputy president, Meurig Raymond.