Dry weather taking its toll, says Will Howe

It amazes me that meteorologists have no trouble accurately predicting the weather when you have no particular need for it, yet as soon as the combine or drill leaves the shed, they get it hopelessly wrong. For the past two months though, the predictions have been perfectly accurate. Scorchio!

While this is great for the barbecue industry, it is now taking its toll on the crops and signs of stress are starting to appear. It has also called into question the wisdom of re-draining fields if we are moving towards the climate of the Gobi Desert.

The only crops seemingly thriving are the newly turfed lawn – which would have already made two perfect cuts of silage for the now defunct Nocton Dairies – and the winter beans. This, though, may be the benefit of planting beans at a depth below the water-table last autumn.

The fine weather has allowed all the groundworks for the new grain store to be completed in perfect conditions. It feels like we have imported enough material to rival “The World” project in Dubai, but I feel more comfortable investing in a shed, which is on a hill, as opposed to in a hole. If the nice weather is a future pattern involving melting ice caps and global warming, then a shed on a hill could rival Noah building an ark in terms of common sense.

For many, the highlight of this drought was at least William and kate could get married without resorting to a hardtop coach. I must confess to watching an hour of the procession back to Buckingham Palace after the wedding and feeling extremely proud. No other nation can match the organisation or pomp and ceremony of the British. And judging by all the guards, trees and cavalrymen, I can only assume that the Duchy Estate has received its SFP in priority over mine.

Read more from Will and our other Arable Farmer Focus writers.


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