There has been a joke doing the rounds that goes “once Greece pays back what it owes, we’ll return its weather”. All I can say is it had better hurry up because the oilseed rape, wheat and the last 50ha of ground waiting to be drilled could all do with a decent amount of rain and we don’t want the wheat price to continue to fall at the rate it is.
Blackgrass is now high on the list of priorities, especially as the recent ADAS dormancy analysis indicated germination could be as low as 23%, meaning that where we thought we would have achieved a reasonable cultural control, we probably haven’t. So more will germinate after drilling than we hoped.
Seed rates were increased slightly in troublesome fields and luckily all of the pre-emergence herbicides so far have been applied in good time with some soil moisture. All we can do now is try our best to get the Atlantis (mesosulfuron + iodosulfuron) applied in the autumn, rather than the spring like the last few years.
A novel form of farm diversification was highlighted on Farmers Weekly’s website last week – First World War trenches (used for filming Downton Abbey). The idea may appear to have little scope for additional income other than war films and dramas, but strategically placed they would keep out unwanted visitors and provide a place to store water when the weather changes, probably, to monsoon season. The odd machine gun and mortar round might even help keep the local rabbit population under control.
No matter what happens with the weather or world economics in the next month, one thing is certain. I will be doing a lot of field walking to collect the different plant species needed to complete my BASIS herbarium project. Hopefully, the fields are pretty clean, so I might have a few problems finding them all.
Arable Farmer Focus: Matt Redman