Crops coping well with dry weather, says Jon Parker

A month ago I thought we might have had some rain by now but we have had nothing bar 1.5mm on Mother’s Day (3 April).

The irrigators are flat out keeping newly drilled onions moist and will be for the foreseeable future looking at the unpredictable weather forecast.

I am glad we pushed on early with nitrogen fertiliser on both wheat and oilseed rape because I think we would be looking at some pretty hungry crops by now. Wheat on the lighter land is starting to suffer with tillers being lost, whereas on the heavy land it still looks good because the roots have gone down through the soil where the moisture is.

The T0 spray on the wheat has done a good job and the crop is very clean. A strobilurin fungicide will be applied in with the T1 tank-mix as we find in dry times here we get real benefits from keeping the crop as green as possible from an early stage through better nitrogen use.

Oilseed rape is almost due its mid-flowering spray so it must be time to put the row crop wheels on the sprayer and gain some height to try and keep the radiator free of yellow petals. Impossible.

As it hasn’t rained, the single farm payment forms haven’t been completed yet so now is the time to get them all checked, filled in and submitted. I am hoping by this time next month we will have found a combine driver for this harvest. Finding good, experienced staff seems to be getting harder and as has already been discussed in this magazine, I think a return to apprenticeships may well be the way forward before we lose young and keen people to other industries.


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