The March weather has been the best ever and everything is up to date. Winter wheats have been sprayed with Othello (mesosulfuron + iodosulfuron + diflufenican) and barleys are just about to receive 80kg/ha of calcium ammonium nitrate fertiliser.


Spring crops went in well and the Propino barley is just peeping through. Our return to a trial area of linseed (5ha), which was drilled on 24 March, will be an interesting challenge. Previous experience 12 years ago was good with over 2.5t/ha. We’ve only got forage maize left to drill and despite soil temperatures reaching 8.5C on 27 March, I was strongly advised to delay it until at least 12 April. I have reluctantly accepted this but, had we had our own drill, I would have tried a small area. Apparently, late frost can kill the plant. Has anyone had this problem, or do soil temperatures rule?

We have spread approximately 600t of broiler litter on our let out potato ground (15t/ha under the Fertiliser Manual). We’ve always struggled with potash levels, but at long last this organic manure seems to be showing a nice gentle rise. Good news for future savings on bought in potash.

Too many mistakes to mention, so here’s my gripe of the month: It’s more than a year since European Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos expressed his desire to see single farm payments go only to active farmers, in plans for post-2013 CAP reform.

But why has no farming organisation, as far as I know, set out criteria to fit the pending legislation? We should support proposals to help those who take the risk with food production and keep landlords away from the money. We elect farming leaders and politicians to be proactive. British unions should get together and hammer out the correct solution to this potentially divisive issue – and then insist that our MEPs go for it.