One of the best parts of being an agronomist is the continual variation that the seasons throw at you – no two are quite the same.

However, there are certain incidences that return like clockwork – manganese deficiency and my friends the pigeons.

Having spent the best part of a month covered with snow the crops emerged blinking into daylight. Overall, everything looked well and as the temperature rose, the first signs of manganese deficient crops could be seen.

This is the time of year when my preferred recommendation is industrial strength manganese. It is also the time when the spray operators hide as mixing the powdered manganese can be a real pain and getting a window to apply the product is also difficult. The cold spell has certainly taken its toll on the pigeons, but dream though I may that they are not, they are still about. I still struggle to wonder why they won’t eat my Amazonian sized crops, but insist on the backward most vulnerable ones.

Propyzamide application dates have now passed and only four weeks remain for Carbetamide applications to be carried out. It may seem impossible now that anything can be done, but the conditions at either end of February are completely different.

The new Soil Protection Review books have arrived and although they do not need completing until the end of December 2010, remember that access to waterlogged ground and standing water areas need recording as they occur.

The current bleak outlook for spring malting barley will mean more spring fallow. I hope that we as an industry are able to get a figure for this as it could seriously help with the Campaign for the Farmed Environment totals.