Biblical rain making life tough for Will Howe

It would appear that we have upset the weather gods. Maybe it was the semi-naked rain dance at the end of March, or my complete indifference to the cash guzzling Olympics, or maybe it was a government minister courageously declaring a drought. I’m not sure.


Either way, the rain keeps falling on a biblical scale and the temperature is barely rising to lukewarm, which is keeping the fusarium happy in the wheat, and the slugs multiplying at such a rate that there could be problems later in the autumn.

This wheat growing season has left me feeling a little like Andy Murray. The opening rounds were exciting and showed immense potential, but we have stumbled at the final hurdle with the blackgrass infestation and weather induced disease. When you have done everything to the best of your ability and you still fall short of a target it makes you want to have a bit of a cry, but at least mine won’t be broadcast into the homes of millions.

I read with mild disbelief a reader’s letter in a once broadsheet newspaper that the recent flooding is not being caused by extreme weather patterns, or that about 10% of the UK is covered by impermeable surfaces, or the waterway maintenance men have had their budget cut; but the fact that farmers fields are drained which allows the water to infiltrate too fast. It would appear that despite the success of our local Open Farm Sunday event, more education of the public in rural matters is needed.

A bit of good news is that my tramlines will never (I hope!) be crooked again due to upgrading our GPS package. I will miss being able to identify each time I dived into my lunchbag, characterised by a wobble on a straight run, but I hope by using Russian as well as American satellites my signal coverage may be a little more consistent.

Will Howe farms 384ha of medium to heavy land at Ewerby Thorpe Farm, near Sleaford, Lincolnshire, growing wheat, oilseed rape and winter beans.

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