“Say goodbye to winter, spring has arrived”, was the front-page headline in our local paper in the first week of August, traditionally one of the coldest months. Brave words, I thought, but to date they were right.

A fine spell has allowed us to push on with sowings and cultivations, as well as the heavy rolling of grass seed and white clover crops.

The first vining peas, Aladdin, went in beautifully at the high rate of 325kg/ha. It was as much as our JD 750A drill could cope with; but by reducing ground speed and increasing the air-flow we succeeded. Mixing in talcum powder certainly helped ease the seed flow.

As soon as we had finished the peas, Juliet linseed went into a stale seed-bed which we had sprayed off with 1.8 litres/ha of Roundup Transorb. The 53ha are our only remaining unirrigated land.

Our two John Deere 7810s, one nine years old the other seven, have both clocked up well over 5000 engine hours. So I made it known to a couple of dealers, Claas and John Deere, that I was considering an upgrade. Almost before I had had time to put the phone down two Claas tractors arrived in our yard with a rep and two technicians.

We were impressed with their performance, especially the 230hp Axion demonstrator, and by an incredibly sharp deal to change stables.

John Deere was having none of it and matched the Claas deal. So a second-hand John Deere 8130 in mint condition and a new 7530 Premium are on their way.

The 8130 will handle the ploughing as well as our five leg He-Va sub tiller, which in all fairness the 7810 did struggle with at times. The 7530’s main role will be to haul the 6m 750A drill.