Farmer Focus: Crops race through growth stages

The referendum on our membership of the EU is looming. This is a once-in-a-generation chance to influence the direction of our country and we need to get it right for the sake of future generations.

I am extremely unhappy with all the misinformation that has been put out by both sides. Gross distortions of the facts have been issued as if true by both the inners and the outers.

That our government should be complicit in this is beyond forgiveness. There is plenty of independent analysis out there if you go looking for it, which I would strongly recommend.

See also: Read more from our Arable Farmer Focus writers

I am very disappointed that the NFU has taken the decision to recommend staying in the EU, not because I disagree, but simply because they should have taken a neutral view on the subject and provided their members with a strictly fact-based breakdown of all of the claims made by both sides.

OK, that really is my last say on the matter until the result is known.

Back to the equally important job of practical farming. We may well have had a much easier time than many this spring in cultivating our lighter land.

However, the incessant showers and large fluctuations in temperatures have made crop growth and applications of inputs particularly challenging.

The spring barley and beans seem to have coped with it much better than the oats in terms of speed of growth.

Temperatures have doubled within the space of a week and at last we can contemplate putting the maize in the ground.

Boy, are the crops going to race through the growth stages now.

Over the winter, small areas of wheat on the gravel have died back. I have noticed neighbours with similar soil types have the same bare areas.

There were no visible signs of pests, so I can only conclude that the wet soils led to damage from pre-emergence herbicides.

Not a good year for this to happen, when we need every field to perform to its full potential.

Simon Beddows manages 1,000ha of arable land at Dunsden Green, south Oxfordshire. Cropping is cereals, oilseed rape, beans and forage maize.

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