Farmer Focus: Downtime is key in the run up to harvest

May and June is an exciting time for our team at Lockerley Estate as Geoff and Becky celebrate the safe arrival of their daughter Caitlin, Alastair and Amy tie the knot and Alan and Julia celebrate their Ruby wedding anniversary.

We wish Matt luck with his 130-mile coast-to-coast off-road cycle with local fencing contractor Alan Long.

Time management is key to farmers, with so much uncertainty dictating when and how we start and finish jobs. However, it’s important to recognise the big events off farm also.

See also: The new crops that could soon profit UK farmers

As harvest prep begins, summer firewood orders to fill sheds come in and game birds arrive, it’s key for everyone to get some downtime in before we start all over again.

Clean and forward

Siskin and Skyfall are splitting boots early this year, with Elicit naturally behind. Cool nights and dry conditions allowed a lower-input T2 on wheat.

Oilseed rape has lost all its petals, winter barley is remarkably clean and forward, and spring barley has just received its low-dose plant growth regulator and CTL flag tip emergence spray.

Spring beans on heavy land have responded like a stopwatch around a rain event. After some rapid growth they have slowed up quickly due to dry, cracked soils.

Countryside Stewardship margins have all been planted so fingers crossed for a rain event to get them moving!

We attended a Leaf event in Cambridge in mid-May which was great, as we got to see integrated farm management being demonstrated on a large scale.

There were small group workshops looking at inputted benchmark figures that dug deeper than standard fixed and variable costs.

Overlaying key measurables from the Leaf sustainable farming review made for some great take-home points.

Open Farm Sunday

Open Farm Sunday prep is all but complete – signs laminated, risk assessments filled out, hand washing stations at the ready.

The Leaf website is brilliant, and first-timers like us would have been lost with out it.

A great team in the Leaf office have helped with any extra enquiries.