West: Driest since 1976

It’s official – in the Midlands it is now the driest it has been since 1976. We would normally have had 20in (500mm) of rain by now, but we have only had half this amount.


As ever one has to take the rough with the smooth. Harvest was completed in record time with most combines parked up two to three weeks ago. Yields of winter OSR and winter wheat have been exceptional, with most breaking their long-term averages. It must be said that very light land yields have not been very good, never quite recovering from the early dry spell.


Oilseed rape drilling is finished and some has found moisture. Localised rainfall is all that makes the difference between crops germinating or not. Quite a few are just sitting in dust and will not germinate until we get a decent spell of rainfall.

Those that have gone into moisture and had rainfall are up with most forward crops at two to three true leaves, although no crops are exactly growing rapidly. Slug activity is next to nothing at the moment although where we have had rain vigilance is required.


Winter wheat drilling started at the beginning of last week. Seed rates are higher than normal due to large thousand grain weights, hardly surprising when people have been getting bushel weights in the 80s.

Seed-beds are very good, but once again germination will be the issue some have moisture others not. Rightly or wrongly, due to the severely dry conditions I am holding off pre ems until we get some moisture. As with OSR, slug activity is minimal.


One should never tempt fate but we could do with a decent drop of rain, not accompanied by high winds. It has been blowing a hooley since the beginning of last week.

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