Fine weather has hit West Wratting and we have been making the most of it. Sugar beet ground has been ploughed and is soon to be drilled with Tipple spring barley.
Considering how late the land was turned over, it ploughed well and with more dryness. It should drill really well, too.
All the wheat and oilseed rape have had their first dose of nitrogen – 50kg/ha first wheats and 70kg/ha on the rest. We have upped our early applications to, hopefully, counteract any dry spring. No doubt that will prompt a deluge through April and May.
Temperatures seem to be rising enough to soon start our assault on blackgrass. The autumn residuals seem to have done a good job so perhaps we may be able to use a little less Atlantis (mesosulfuron + iodosulfuron) than usual. A large amount of field walking may be necessary.
I recently took a seven-day trip to The Ukraine to look at farmland. The chilly UK winter was put into perspective when I arrived in Kiev completely unprepared for a snowstorm and -15C temperatures – so field walking was not high on our priorities.
The soil is excellent but the infrastructure is poor. Most farms are just rundown old buildings from the state farming era, which people have neither the money nor the inclination to maintain. I would love to go back 30 years to see these farms as they were – hundreds of people and machines working in an inefficient way, but feeding the nation nonetheless. It was a great trip and we all behaved well, apart from one vodka-fuelled lunch. I have never taken part in so many toasts and seen off so many shots in my life, but you must take part for fear of offending your host. That was my excuse anyway.