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.
I recently visited the AHDB SPot Farm, at Elveden Estate. It is a really great initiative and of special interest to me to see targeted R&D happening on a sandy soil – types of soil very similar to those where I work.
Spring oats have to be one of my favourite crops. Ours were direct drilled into sprayed-off wheat stubbles with just 125kg of N, split 50/50 between the seedbed and GS12. The crop just grows and it seems to be unaffected by pests (other than rooks) and diseases.
Six weeks after drilling and we have not sprayed them once. The plan is to apply an inexpensive broad-leaved herbicide and a fungicide for crown rust.
As much as I like oats, we cannot risk growing where we know we have a potential ...
A month in farming is certainly a long time with crops soaking up the sun and warmth to race on to more normal growth stage timing.