Andrew Blenkiron adjusts his potato plans

What a hectic month; fitting it all in has been difficult.

First a fantastic NFU conference, a chance to catch up with old pals from around the country as well as learning a bit more about our future direction, that combined with ever so many offers of water from the North West, I rather forgot about the drought. I must admit that by the end of the night, I would have preferred if the offers had been for beer rather than water – but you can’t have everything.

Next was to get home and revise the cropping, reducing the potato area. Please don’t all get too excited about that because we all know what happens if we do; yes everyone over compensates and blows the market – so don’t do it. Then to get some real work done, everyone running flat out, spuds, spring wheat and sugar beet all being planted into first-rate conditions. One thing that most of our soil is good at is making amazing spring seed-beds.

Next job was to scrabble around and find enough water to grow the newly planted crops. Group chats with the local Environment Agency seem to be coming up, with us agreeing to a voluntary 20% reduction in our borehole abstractions. This, it is anticipated will allow us some form of water security from that source through the summer.

One or two are starting to get concerned about the following season, as we are told by the EA that it will take rainfall of 25% over average for the next year to recharge our aquifers. I’m afraid that I can’t bring myself to worry about things that far away, after all they are all still washing their cars in Essex on a Sunday morning. Finally, this month the battle is on with the local planners over our proposed new reservoir.

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