April has been a dry month here in south Lincolnshire with just 4mm of rain falling, topped off with multiple frosty mornings.
As much as I could complain about this, I shan’t as the dry spell has allowed us to really crack on with the spring planting campaign; although some of the earlier plantings have still been knocked by the frosts despite being under fleece.
Fingers crossed potatoes will be wrapped up by the end of this week, leaving us to focus on the flower drilling and the start of our first outdoor flower harvest of the year. There is never much time sat still before we are on to the next challenge.
This year we have trialled a bed tiller for Grimme which has gone very well and proved to be a reliable bit of kit.
Over the past year I have worked with Grimme UK to have a flower harvester built which I am extremely excited about and hope to have out in the fields very soon.
Fingers crossed it all goes to plan as it will allow us to be more efficient and rely less on casual labour which, in the current climate, is a very unpredictable resource.
On our first outdoor crop of the year (Sweet Williams) we have previously relied on up to 150 casual staff to crop and bunch in the field. If all goes well, I hope to reduce this number significantly to about 10 people in the field and move bunching to our packhouse.
Sugar beet has been drilled and looks to have gone in well. I am glad it has not emerged yet as the six nights of frost we have faced since could have really damaged the plants.
Wheats have had their second nitrogen application and most of the fields look well. The sprayer’s wheels are being kept turning applying T1s in between sealing potato and flower crops.
Hannah and I did manage to escape the farm to visit a local pub with friends and make the most of the lovely beer garden on a sunny Sunday afternoon recently.
I really do look forward to pubs and restaurants opening again to both support local businesses and also to take a much needed break.
With the May Bank Holiday approaching we plan to close the farm for all three days to allow everyone to let their hair down before silly season arrives.