Farmer Focus Arable: Wet weather woe for Seth Pascoe

Being the guy stood at the bar patiently waiting while the barman changes the barrel is frustrating. But being the farmer who impatiently tries to plant potatoes while the sun shines, yet the land is still too wet, is very frustrating.

After receiving 50% of our annual rainfall in a little over six weeks, the sun finally came out and we charged into the fields. I’m sure most readers would agree that it’s difficult to be patient and do nothing in good weather, especially when you are three weeks behind on planting.

Unfortunately, the land was too wet, and shortly after planting restarted it was brought to a rapid halt by traction difficulties. As the week passed, getting stuck/unstuck was a regular occurrence and it became a community effort as neighbours helped. Many thanks to our local John Deere dealership for lending us a 9530 on triple 800 tyres as our pull tractor.

Planting is finally over for this year and everything is in the ground. The ability of a crop to compensate for lost time never ceases to amaze me. Wheat is jumping through growth stages and the potatoes are popping out of the hills across the farm already. The grain maize looks a little unhappy with the lack of sunshine and might struggle to meet the old adage of “knee-high by July”.

But the Timothy hay and winter wheat crops have enjoyed the rain. Last time I paddled around the Timothy field in my wellies, the grass was barely ankle height. Now the crop is far above welly height and the breeze sends green waves across the field.

The winter wheat is a healthy dark green and, apart from the five-acre lake that has been there since snow-melt, the crop looks well. This field will likely be the first to require irrigation.

Now all we need is sunshine – and lots of it.

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