Farmer Focus Arable: David Shepherdson gets to grips with NVZs

Another month has passed and, as I write, the farm looks exactly as it did a month ago – covered in snow.

A group of us managed to make the second day of LAMMA. The organisers got lucky with the weather and hit on the best two days in January – chilly, but dry enough to walk around in shoes instead of wellies.

It’s certainly the place for those with a penchant for shiny, colourful machinery. Huge cultivators were plentiful with their yard-deep ripper tines.

We could really do with is a fresh set of V-shaped discs to work our thinner soils up here. It would spare us from bringing a lot of stones to the surface with the new tined cultivators that seem to be fashionable nowadays.

I think I’ve finally got my NVZ Compliance/Manure Management maps in order. After a quick rummage through the kids’ crayon drawer for the right coloured pencils, I set about an afternoon of being Rolf Harris with a set of farm maps.

I’m using the Planet computer software to calculate the N-max limits for the farm. It’s a shame that the spray records and nutrient records can’t all be done using the same program, which would save having to duplicate records for crop assurance.

We’ve decided to plant spring rape as a break crop this year. I quite fancied some linseed which would be a logistical nightmare finding somewhere to store and dry it in the yard, whereas the rape can go in with the winter rape, which makes more sense to stick with this.

As for the spring barley plantings – still no contracts have come forward so I’ve not ordered any seed.

Perhaps we should all leave it fallow and get a good entry into next year’s wheat crop.

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