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Steve Heard: Spring cropping knowledge essential if no sense on three-crop proposal

Insights

Since the last time I wrote, we have continued to apply a first nitrogen application to the wheat and oats, but with the notable absence of any sulphur product.

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Last year we grew crops without and having carefully tested the resulting N:S ratio of the grains we produced, alongside various timely plant tissue tests, I am now very doubtful our heavy soils are in anyway sulphur deficient.

 

The fertiliser marketing propaganda claims cleaner power stations within the UK have reduced air deposits, but having recently received a dusting of sands from the Sahara I am not sure how relevant these local claims really are?

 

It is difficult to write with my fingers crossed while touching wood, but to date we have managed to move the milling wheat with just some minor deductions for lower protein. I would like to claim my recent timely grain marketing is the result of great skill, but it seems the less effort I make to digest the worldwide reports and opinions, the more successful I have become. With such volatile markets it seems there really are no true experts and perhaps my guess is as good as any other.

Drilling

Spring bean drilling has once again reminded us why we major on autumn sown crops. Heavy rainfall and a lack of any frost lift, resulted in continued saturated and slumped seedbeds. Nevertheless we did manage to busily rush them into the ground ahead of the forecast rains… which then arrived four days later.

 

After such a kind growing season last spring and the rewarding yields, I will be surprised if we are so lucky this time. But, with the threat of a three-crop rule unless some common sense can prevail, we must try to learn how to best grow a spring crop and, for sure, we have much to perfect.

 

Aside from the fields and the workshop, I am trying to find time to mount the recently delivered solar panels to an obscure barn roof at home. Yet another investment with success dependent upon the need for a sunny hot summer; will I never learn?

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