Farmer Focus Arable: Martin Lawrenson’s crops need rain

We received hardly any rain during April and May and as a result ground conditions were very dry. As we are usually coping with too much rain, it was strange to begin hoping for a shower or two as once it starts it often doesn’t stop.

A bank holiday weekend usually brings some sort of dodgy weather and the spring bank holiday brought a couple of days of showers. There wasn’t really enough to do a lot of good, but it did dampen down the dust for a while.

One crop really needing a drink was our carrots which had germinated well on most of the land, but any slightly harder patches were very thin. Whether they will come after the rain will remain to be seen, but with variable emergence it could make weed control difficult.

Potatoes have emerged well and pre-emergence weed control looks to have worked a treat. We were worried that with dry conditions residual herbicides could be less effective especially on the peaty land. After trying three or four different approaches, crops look clean, but it remains to be seen which works best in the long run.

Spraying is, as usual, taking up much of my time at the moment. After a slight mishap last year when the front tank fell off the front of the tractor after hitting a bump in the road, I have been looking for a trailed sprayer to replace my current mounted machine.

After pricing a new one I decided that, as I hadn’t won the lottery yet, I would look for a good second-hand machine. Unfortunately, there only seems to be two types available. There are the nearly new ones which are almost as expensive as new and others described as “very tidy” which have more weld on them than paint and are one step away from the scrap yard.

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