9 February 1996

Freeze-up dashes early hopes

A quick glance at the T-sum map shows how hopes of a very early bite this year have been dashed by cold weather. Producers with low stocks of winter forage after last summers drought will have to wait even longer to apply fertiliser as forecasts for the arrival of T-sum get later and later.

Squares forecast to be T-sum 200 by the day farmers weekly is issued are always shown green. Those due by next weeks issue are orange. Yellow squares are due in the 10 days after next weeks issue (in the case of todays issue that will be Feb 26) and all later squares are coloured blue.

So, orange, yellow and blue should progress up the page week by week. The prominence of blue in todays map reflects the sub-zero temperatures we have been experiencing.

There are large numbers of squares hovering around T-sum 150C to 180C, so once this cold spell passes things could move quickly. T-sum is much earlier than shown if you farm near the coast or at a very low altitude, so if in doubt check out the Kemira hotline.

Why not use the delay to maintain and calibrate the spreader, a job too easily forgotten in the rush to get going once the soil warms up. The FARMERS WEEKLY/Kemira Hot-Line is still open on 0151-357 5631.