FARMING: Weather continues to dictate

I am not a believer in Climate Change as the
 weather has a habit of balancing itself out over the duration of time.

With only 10 millimetres of rainfall falling at Poolham during April and a period of 32 consecutive days without measurable rainfall, the soil has dried sufficiently to allow me to complete my spring drilling and for the first time in a year I can say that field operations are complete and spraying is up to date.

It may be of interest to someone that this years total rainfall of 125mm is still short of the 131mm of rain that I measured in April alone last year.

The dry old March and April have not helped my backward crops of Oilseed Rape to grow away as they should.

It has been a constant battle to keep the pigeons away from my 180 acres of Winter Rape

I have had to pull up 30 acres at a considerable cost. The land will be cultivated and a crop of mustard established to 
dry out the soil prior to drilling Winter Wheat in the autumn.

The remaining 150 acres will hopefully produce a viable crop provided sufficient rainfall and sunshine allow the fertilizer to be utilised in the next couple of weeks.

If May is another dry and cold month then the prospects for this year’s harvest will be very bleak indeed.

As a consequence of the very wet autumn last year none of my winter wheat was treated with a herbicide to kill blackgrass.

This would normally be done routinely and those farmers on free draining soils were lucky to have excellent results from their autumn applications with a near 100 per cent control of weeds.

As a hovercraft was the only vehicle that could cross my land I was denied that opportunity.

My agronomist finally advised me to apply my blackgrass spray on April 20, the latest I have ever dared leave it.

The herbicide requires and actively growing crop and a dry leaf to work efficiently.

The cold spring and high winds of March and early April have lead to mixed results from Atlantis applied during this period.

A shortage of grass silage and a slight improvement in the weather allowed me to turn out my cows and calves on April 12,

I am lucky to be able to shut them in the crew at night and fortunately none of the calves have been chilled.

Providing there are no night frosts in the first week of May the animals will remain outside for the rest of the summer.

As all of my silage has now gone I am relying on good grass growth throughout the summer to replenish stocks.

While driving to our farm at Heckington last week, I saw an Irrigator applying water to a poor crop of winter oilseed rape.

Another first to put at the back of my brain.