Farmer Focus: Beans and OSR looking very variable

A lot seems to have happened since my last article – the country has gone into lockdown and it has finally dried up.

Winter crops have moved a lot in the past fortnight, however, the farm is not looking at its best this year. I do hope Google Earth does not decide to update is satellite imagery.

Oilseed rape is all over the place and flowering will be over a long period. Potential is limited, and therefore, apart from a sclerotinia spray if the risk arises, we have shut the gate.

See also: How to use active fallows to repair soils on undrilled land

The winter beans are very patchy and have also been a victim to the wet winter. The early-drilled wheat is still the pick of the crops on the farm at the moment and a T1 fungicide will be due in the third week of April.

The weather has been very kind for our spring drilling campaign and allowed us to take our time and get the seed-bed right. Moisture retention has been high up the agenda and this has kept our 12m rolls busy.

Cultivations have been kept to a minimum and only used where the soil had slumped and capped from the heavy rainfall.

It is now a relief to see nice green rows emerging. In the current situation, it makes you realise how lucky we are to do what we do and live where we live.

I think it has also been an opportunity for a lot of people to stop and take stock of what is important in life. As farmers, we think that we work hard, but the NHS workers are giving it their all.

A massive thank you goes out to all the NHS staff on the front line, you are all doing an incredible job.

Finally, I just wanted to wish a happy birthday to my grandfather, Peter Lingham, who has just celebrated his 90th birthday. He is someone I have looked up to my whole life and has helped carve my path in agriculture.

He has immense respect from the farming community in Kent and he has certainly seen some changes within agriculture in his lifetime.