Don’t miss this month’s new look Arable Farming. Take a look at the digital edition today.
Week four of the Covid-19 lockdown and many are starting to adapt to new routines. Self-isolation is nothing new for farming – working alone is often the norm – but the enforced distancing from family and friends nevertheless brings its own pressures. On arable farms the daily business of growing crops has continued. It eventually stopped raining and the countryside reverberated with a collective growl of engines starting as tractors and sprayers headed for the fields. With drilling mostly done we could now do with some rain, but at last there are crops in the ground and the task now is to get them to harvest in as good a shape as possible. Of course, arable farming is not immune to the effects of the pandemic. There are challenges with sourcing labour, as well as disruption in some markets; potato growers supplying restaurants and fish and chip shops have seen markets fall away overnight and, with the potential for a large spring barley crop this harvest, there are also concerns around the slowdown in malting barley consumption.
Where the lockdown has certainly had an impact is on the schedule of summer plot tours and field events, which many of us would have been looking forward to attending – as much an opportunity to spend some time away from the farm as to keep up to date with the latest agronomy news and views. But while you might not be able to get out to the field days, we can help bring them to you. In this issue we’ve rounded up news of what distributors, agchem manufacturers, seed and fertiliser companies and research centres are doing to deliver their events ‘virtually’ – be that through online meetings, videos or podcasts to name but a few approaches. Find the report on p36-39 and because it is a constantly evolving situation, keep a check for the latest updates online at arablefarming.com and via our Twitter account @ArableFarming. Also in this issue, we welcome a new columnist in the form of newly-elected NFU combinable crops board chairman Matt Culley, who has without doubt had to hit the ground running. And in another first, I am excited to share news of the launch of the Arable Farming/CropTec Show podcast, presented by Alice Dyer. In this first instalment of Crop it Like it’s Hot Alice takes a look at no-till. I hope you will find time to listen in and please do share any feedback or ideas for future podcasts via the usual channels.