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.
Warm soil temperatures and plenty of moisture across the region gave oilseed rape crops the best possible start.
Good, steady rainfall from the end of October has made all the difference to our later-sown oilseed rape and rewarded our patience in holding off on so much of our wheat drilling. And even up to 50mm of rain in 48 hours from the first named storm of the season last week did not dampen our spirits.
Mid-August and we are feeling a lot more positive about life than we were a few weeks ago.
As we approach the end of August harvest is almost complete. All the crops have been cut and it only remains to bale the last of the straw to finish the job.
On the contrast to last year when I was writing about the hot and dry weather being a curse on the lighter soil types, the deluge of rain we have had since the middle of June has led to utterings of ‘another 2012’.
At the time of writing (early July) we have been totting up our June rainfall figures and locally we had more than 220mm in June this year, compared to 40mm in June last year, but in 2015 we had temperatures of 30degC. Not so this year.
Grass and cereal crops have grown rapidly over the last few weeks but we have only had 30mm rain since the end of April. The ground is very dry and even the heavier clay land has cracks all over it.