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.
Thankfully the weather has been much warmer and grass and winter cereals are growing well now after a late start. I am almost scared to say it but it has been so hot, with temperatures up to 22 deg C and drying winds, we could do with some rain.
Winter barley has shot through its growth stages at an alarming rate, resulting in us almost missing a T1 spray and going straight to T2. It is funny how Mother Nature always averages everything out, it was only a few weeks ago during that late spring, I commented that our silage pits were never going to be empty this Spring, but how wrong I was - there is only a small amount left in one pit.
On the upland unit I have let the stock graze the fields which should have been shut off for silage in order to allow the grass in the grazing fields to grow. I will still take two cuts of silage from these fields but it probably means that the second cut will now coincide with the start of winter barley harvest. Variable rate potash has been applied to all fields that required it. Once again all nitrogen top dressings has been applied in the liquid form. This has meant that the sprayer has been kept very busy most days, but it is so accurate and you can cover a large area in a day without the need for a loader or the inconvenience of bags.
We have had two very interesting discussion group visits to the farm in the last month. The first one was a group of farmers from Finland and the second one a party from Holt discussion group. It is always good to host these visits and fascinating to compare and share our way of farming with other farmers throughout the world. The highlight from both visits for me was the fact the Norfolk group commented on how well the crops looked and they thought our winter barley and spring barley was just as far ahead as theirs was. Although this was after they had sampled the whisky from the local distillery where a large proportion of our malting barley goes, I still find this hard to believe as anytime I am down south I always come home feeling down in the dumps as crops are normally looking so well.
The summer show season is almost upon us with our first one being the Royal Highland Show, my eldest daughter Laura and our pedigree stockman are busy preparing our pedigree simmental show team for Scotland’s agricultural shop window. My other two daughters, Jemma and Hannah, have made their final choice of texel ram and ewe lambs to take. It takes a lot of hard work and time to prepare livestock for any show, despite the huge amount of work and expense, I am sure in the long term it pays off as it is the only advertisement we do to promote our stock. I hope the weather is kind and we can enjoy our annual holiday.
Having written these articles for just over four years the time has come for me to put my pen down, but I must thank all those of you who have commented and spoke to me about any points which I had written about and wish you a healthy, happy and prosperous future.