It’s been a slow start to the planting campaign for early growers in the West, with only a few acres planted before Storm Doris arrived a few weeks ago.
Having said that, these went into very good conditions, with soil temperatures more than 8C, even before covering with fleece.
One good thing is that most of the seed is in chitting trays and manageable. At least when it does hit the ground, it should grow away quickly.
Amounts of rainfall in the East have been much less and although soils look quite damp on top, a quick dig with a spade suggests conditions are quite good.
This has been backed up with land that has been ploughed over the past couple of weeks and is sitting in very good order and looks as if it will work down quite easily without smashing it to bits with a bed tiller.
A number of clients are now ploughing on top, which I believe is also making a huge difference to soil conditions at depth.
One consequence of the wet weather is the lack of seed deliveries to the farm. The trouble is it can’t all be delivered at the same time – there just isn’t enough haulage.
Consider investing in seed storage
One or two growers have put up, or are considering putting up, purpose-built seed storage facilities, which has a number of advantages.
Firstly, you know you have the seed and you know you can get on with planting as soon as soil conditions are right.
Secondly, you know the quality and can manage accordingly, allowing decisions to be made on seed treatments.
Thirdly, you can take advantage of early delivery discounts, which will offset some of the storage costs.
Fourthly, you know the tuber count and how far it will plant. Seed is pretty expensive, so you don’t want to be dumping it because you have run out of land to plant.
This last point is pretty important, as a lot of the seed I have seen so far this year is quite seedy and should plant a long way.