Farmer Focus Arable: Edward Tupper begins farm clear up after cold spell

Well having had to watch the farm drown during the last few weeks, it is nice to be able to plan a bit of outside work.

Water has been lying in places I have not seen before and the tracks around the farm are awful. Just getting to the out-wintered Sussex cattle has been quite a challenge sometimes.

Farmyard manure has been spread on some spring barley ground and to everybody’s surprise I decided to plough it in, which has not been done at Littleton for a number of years. The main reason for this was the steady build-up of grass weeds, which has become an irritant recently. Ploughing in February listening to the cricket was rather strange, but pleasing as I could see the soil drying in the sunshine.

The sprayer passed its annual test and will be used a lot more this year to apply liquid nitrogen on the main silage and grazing grass. This is something I want to try, and after some experiments in the latter half of the grazing season last year, it could be beneficial. Time will tell.

More fencing has been erected again under our Higher Level Stewardship scheme, which will benefit some rough downland areas from grazing in the late spring and summer. This part of our HLS has been a great success and the flora and fauna has benefited enormously. Surveys from last year have seen a considerable increase.

Congratulations must go to all the people who got on to the new South Downs National Park Authority board. We have got some farmer representation on it which is great news. Well done to those who have lobbied for such an inclusion and for Hilary Benn for actually listening.

By the way, has anyone got a minibus I can hire for Cereals?

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