I would like to start this month’s article by wishing everyone a Happy New Year, a year which I hope will be significantly more stable in terms of both weather and political shenanigans.
I mentioned briefly in an earlier article that I had the most infuriating rejection of a load of malting barley for an issue I had never heard of before - book lice.
As we look ahead to 2020 with maybe 30% of our planned winter crops in the ground and some of them looking none too clever, it’s time for some clear thinking, and firmly soil-focused thinking that goes well beyond the immediate season at that.
Well, it’s safe to say we are not quite in the position we would’ve hoped to be at this point in the year, however the kit is looking sparkling.
As the season draws to a close, we don’t need reminding what a challenge it has been since it started raining in September.
I feel it’s important to start this month’s column with a huge positive - this is the fourth continuous day without any rain.
There comes a point during an autumn like this that for two reasons you stop taking much notice of how much rain has fallen.
In my last article I wrote about how soils conditions were about near perfect, temperatures were Mediterranean and spirits were generally high following a bumper harvest. Oh how things can change in a matter of weeks.
I was hoping to avoid starting too many of these articles by focussing on the weather this year, but it is difficult not to this time.
We’ve not got as many apples and plums as last year, but the pears are pretty good and the rain over the summer has not only helped the wheat and barley harvests but also the fern growth on our asparagus which is much bigger than last season.