Drilling of spring barley finished here on May 6 - the latest I can remember. Ground conditions were ideal and the late-sown crops have emerged quickly.
It has been a challenging spring so far - the huge variations in the weather have been unprecedented.
Well nearly almost all the spring cropping was drilled, but not quite. After having to wait patiently for soil conditions to improve we eventually managed to finish spring drilling in early May, thanks to some greatly appreciated long hours from the team to make the most of the weather opportunities.
In north east England, we are used to challenging springs but this one stood out, even by our standards. The only consolation is the whole country shared our ‘northern spring’.
It has been pretty frantic this past month but some decent warmth, as well as moisture, means most of our crops have caught up well. We are getting on top of our fieldwork too, so we are moving into the second half of May in relatively good shape.
As I write, in the middle of April, the weather forecast for the week ahead looks rather confusing. It seems to be showing very unfamiliar sunny symbols and potential temperatures in the early to mid-20s, something which hasn’t been seen for a good while now. Finally it looks like we are entering a week where sprayer wheels will be turning and spring drilling finally getting underway.
I am incredibly fortunate to have been elected to the position of NFU Crops Board chair and look forward to an immensely challenging and, hopefully, very rewarding two years.
Market intelligence is the lifeblood of effective decision making. The ability to understand availability, market demands and trends. For the UK potato industry it is the national planted area, its yield, consumption levels, and an overall picture of the national potato stock position.
Reading back over last month’s comments when my copy of Arable Farming arrived in the post, I thought how optimistic I had been that spring was just around the corner. What I didn’t appreciate at the time was that a month later I would still be writing the same messages about waiting for the land to dry out before we can get on with the spring workload.
At the risk of making life a bit too exciting, it adds interest and potential benefits to have on-farm trials. For me, 2018 is ‘attempt min-till year’. Not an earth shattering ambition (pun not intended, but irresistible), you might be thinking, but it is plenty challenge enough in an organic rotation.