Farmer Focus: Crop confusion as temperatures dive below zero

Spring’s false start – as predicted in my previous article – didn’t happen, and the great weather continued through March. Crops raced ahead after we applied urea nitrogen.

Will this be the last application for this valued product?

OSR is thinking about flowering, having sat at the yellow bud stage for a while.

See also: Crop Watch: Spring chill puts brakes on crop growth

Unfortunately, April has suddenly wreaked revenge, with temperatures diving below zero around the Easter holiday period.

If you were a plant, you would be totally confused: go, go, go, then stop — the opposite of the biofuel industry, you might say.

The E10 standard has really put a solid base in the cereals market for 2021.

We are fortunately positioned close to Ensus, at Wilton in Teesdale, and not far from Vivergo, at Saltend near Hull. When both facilities are at full steam, they’ll take an awful lot of wheat out of the local market.

Friends in the engineering trade tell me they are not looking forward to all the calls from farmers whose tractors, telehandlers and sprayers won’t run properly on the new fuel.

The Red Tractor debate hasn’t abated, with new chairman Guy Smith adding some very practical reasons for sticking with the status quo.

I get his points about pesticide tax and rodenticides, but the main reason lots of us find the current situation unpalatable is the dual standards involved.

After years of being told standards are the best way forward to protect our industry, we now have a great chance outside the EU to set our own standards and, more importantly, maintain them.

Having previously mentioned my brilliant flu jab experience, the Covid-19 one was even better.

So slick and carried out with a smile – just fantastic, NHS.

Although I thought Boris’ “greed” jibe was a bit crass, he was correct in saying the reason the UK has aced the vaccine game is our free-market conditions and the fact that he gave the keys to the UK’s future health to a smart venture capitalist, Kate Bingham.

Maybe not everyone’s first choice, but by hook or by crook she sorted the job out. Amid all the political posturing about Covid responses last year, what we needed was action — and it was delivered in spades.

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