Cereals has been and gone; it was good to catch up with lots of people and it was interesting that I was asked more about my garden and the house move than sugar beet or potatoes. But as one of my colleagues is always telling me, my writing is more like an episode of The Archers than a technical column so maybe it is to be expected.
Writing in the middle of June most of the winter and spring crops I walk have received their full spray programme. The next main pass will be desiccation of oilseed rape.
With harvest on the horizon, we are quietly optimistic about most of our winter crops; an optimism reinforced by encouraging yield predictions from the advanced Contour model we are testing on several farms this season. Only time will tell whether we are both right, of course.
Productivity varies considerably from region to region. Variations are due to a diverse mix of cultural, political, environmental and social factors, all particular to the locality. Climatic conditions can bring both challenges and opportunities in equal measure.
It’s time to think about recruiting the wild oat rogueing team for July/August. Google says ‘sowing wild oats was applied figuratively to young men who frittered away their time in stupid or idle pastimes’.
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.