Dry spell sees growers out drilling barley, beet and beans

This week has been the first dry spell for months, and some growers on free-draining land are out cultivating while others are drilling barley, sugar beet and beans.

For some drills, it’s the first action since last September, and conditions are a little mixed with some soft spots. But with a huge backlog of work, farmer are cracking on.

Some potato farmers are in action too, with both planting and lifting happening. Here are a few highlights from across the UK.

See also: How to plan potato planting for trouble-free crop desiccation

Tom Hawthorne’s Kverneland drill was out yesterday in what he called “Tine drill Tuesday” in Nottinghamshire.

Spring barley

In Oxfordshire, Samuel Clarke is cultivating ground in preparation for drilling spring barley.

Further north in Leicestershire, Nick Wilson is drilling spring barley into a failed crop of oilseed rape with a Mzuri.

And in Norfolk, Tim Barrell is creating a bit of dust with his Horsch drilling in surprisingly dry conditions.

Sugar beet drilling

In mid-Norfolk, sugar beet drilling has kicked off for Mark Frary going into freshly prepared seed-beds.

James Thompson is also drilling beet, adding that Beeswax Dyson Farming is still lifting the 2019 crop.


For Lincolnshire farmer Peter Cartwright, it is the first time his low-disturbance Horsch Sprinter drill has been out since September. Here he is drilling beans at Revesby Farms.

Tom Sewell is also drilling beans in Kent, picking the drier spots and going across the slope.

Stick or twist with winter barley

It’s not just drilling, farmers and agronomists are out crop walking. In his video, Merseyside grower Olly Harrison is considering whether to stick with this crop of winter barley or do a bit of a repair job and stitch in some spring barley.

Potato planting and lifting

In East Suffolk, Capel St Andrew Farms is planting potatoes, which will be ready for lifting in June.

Meanwhile, in south Lincolnshire the potato harvest continues at Worth Farms having been severely hampered by the winter deluge. Simon Day shares a video of the farm’s two-row Grimme self-propelled harvester.

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