April showers have certainly lived up to their name. The dry spell broke and since then the weather has been very patchy, with some showers being very heavy indeed. We have now had some sensible quantities of rain which have improved crop appearances no end, but I think we are a long way off replenishing the water reserves.

The oilseed rape is now in full flower on the main raceme, but lower branches are only just starting to flower, which will make for interesting decisions regarding the timing and number of flowering sprays the crop will receive.

Wheat T1 sprays were all finished before the wet weather set in, thankfully, and so we have been able to concentrate on the last application of nitrogen to the crop.

Onion planting has gone well to date, with the first two drillings now emerged. The first crop of overwintered onions has been ready to harvest for over a week, but the wet conditions are hindering progress.

Our new New Holland T9560 is in at Murleys, so we are eagerly awaiting its delivery on farm once the PDI and polish have been completed. In anticipation of its delivery, we have set about modifying our single leg mole drainer into a twin leg version, so that we can speed up this slow, but essential operation.

Just as rain starts to improve our outlook, we now get reports that our Single Farm Payments could be reduced by 30% in the future. DEFRA state that this will help support our environmental schemes and will also promote innovation and competitiveness within the agricultural industry. To my mind, it’s yet another way of the Treasury saving some cash and I am glad to see that Peter Kendall has come out strongly against this straight away.

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Farmer Focus: Jon Parker