Reading this week’s agronomist reports in Farmers Weekly, I wonder what planet Scotland is on, “Ground too dry to drill, temperatures too high to spray” – bring it on I say.
Our “Indian summer” lasted all of three days at most. Those with long memories and the scars to go with them will recall the long, drawn out harvest of 1985. The difference then was that we did have a good long spell of weather in October to catch up.
There are still areas of crop to cut in the later and more northern regions. Many fields have got straw lying in the bout; farmers fortunate enough to have made bales cannot move them due to the fragile state of the ground. Deep ruts caused by combines, grain trailers and balers abound. All this will have quite an impact on those growers trying to establish second wheats and on farms where continuous wheat has become the norm.
Generally, winter oilseed rape and winter barley have been established into acceptable seed-beds but the weather has made herbicide applications a difficult task. Slugs have enjoyed the extreme moisture and pellet strengths have been tested to the limit. It remains to be seen if metaldehyde will show up in water samples. It will not be for the lack of advisers applying the metaldehyde stewardship guidelines.
Naturally, the weather has impacted on potato lifting. There are numerous wet hollows in fields not harvested. These potatoes are better left to rot in the field rather than causing problems in store. Prompt and efficient drying will be essential to protect the quality of what is going to be a difficult product to market this season. The soil structure following potatoes lifted under these conditions is bound to affect plans for wheat drilling.