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.
As the busy June-July demo season draws to an end prior to combines rolling, there have been some key lessons to learn from a very difficult season.
Well – it has happened. The blight epidemic for 2016 is well under way, with plenty of red spots on the Fight Against Blight maps. There are infections reported from East and West, North and South and everywhere in between.
By the time you read this our winter barleys and oilseed rape should – weather always permitting – be safely gathered in and we’ll have a good idea of how our wheats are coming off.
The EU referendum vote was one which surprised me, uncertain times may lie ahead but also possibly some opportunities so we need to get on with it and deal with what’s ahead of us.
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.
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.