Farmer Focus: Catching moles is new fieldwork operation for Will Howe

Having looked at a mole-infested 2.5ha wheat field the entire winter as it began to resemble the Himalayas, I decided action was required.

Unfortunately, my trapping and gassing skills leave a little to be desired so, in desperation, I kindly accepted an invitation to the pub with the Thursday Evening Club.

Lo and behold, one member is a champion in the dark arts of the countryside. He came and gave me a quick lesson – so far I’ve caught 11 moles in this one field.

Mole-catching aside, our fieldwork has been relatively hassle-free, with timings pretty much as hoped, helped by the settled weather.

I think I’m in the minority this year in using a T0 spray, let alone a robust one. While many parts of the country are having to cope with crops suffering the effects of last year, the wheat here looks quite promising.

Given this and the fact that the weather here has been good for a month, who knows what conditions we might be faced with at T1? I believe our erstwhile friends in the City call it risk management.

The hope is that not skimping on inputs will leave me with the same problem next year as I currently have. I seem to be forever loading lorries, but the shed never seems to get much emptier – a dilemma I could grow used to.

With the arrival of my newly-hired combine on the farm, thoughts are turning to the summer and how to get the best from the extra capacity and, hopefully, the timeliness in establishing the following crops.

To this end, the rape is going to be established as part of the subsoiling process, but the worry is that the slot won’t close sufficiently on the heavy land. Any answers please?

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