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We are moving towards the end of October and our final winter drillings with considerable relief, although still without the scale of pre-planting weed growth we really wanted on bad grass-weed ground.
Flea beetle season began slowly; I actually thought early in August that perhaps this year we would have it easy, as the early-drilled oilseed rape went in and started to emerge and little damage was found.
We have at long last had a significant rainfall event, with just over 24mm recorded on October 14. This has improved soil conditions greatly and seems to have been a turning point from summer conditions, to autumnal ones, with a drop in temperatures and heavy morning dews.
The times they are a changin, went the song by Bob Dylan and they certainly are. The grass growth has slowed down in the garden so the mower is used a little less but we’ve been busy harvesting apples and pears and what a bumper crop they’ve been.
Patience is a virtue they say and you would think that, after such a kind summer and autumn, I would enjoy the feeling of calm starting to envelope Southesk, as seasonal colours signal the end of summer and the occasional frosty morning heralds thoughts of winter.
The Southesk 2018 harvest came to an end on September 14th, 10 days earlier than normal having delivered unexpected highs and, unfortunately, predicted lows in terms of drought related crop performance.
A good inch of mid-August rain in most places – and quite a lot more in some – caused a hiccup as we neared the end of harvest. But it has been just what we needed for oilseed rape sowing and autumn stubble management, as well as cover crop establishment and potato desiccation.
In 1976 I’m told the weather broke about now, August bank holiday weekend and then it didn’t stop raining until winter. Legend has it that potatoes were planted in snow and lifted in snow - but I’m told they were well worth the effort and should be this year too.
Organic Arable has just Tweeted that one of our producer members is combining Mascani at seven tonnes/hectare. Add that to this season’s low moisture readings and it is a very satisfying yield – and a hard act to follow.