Farmer Focus: Incredible amount of blackgrass germination

As per usual, just as things were going well it rained and drilling ground to a halt. That was on 20 October and we haven’t turned a wheel since. Luckily we’ve managed to drill all our low-blackgrass-pressure fields and on the whole I’m pretty pleased with the results.

However, the last 200ha of land destined for wheat is our high-blackgrass-pressure land, and boy, am I glad we didn’t drill it. The amount that has germinated in the past 10 days is incredible.

See also: How and why a farmer trained to do his own agronomy

With this block destined for the variety Skyfall I’m not too worried about the drilling date. Last year’s 21 March-drilled Skyfall was our best gross margined crop of the year so I’m fairly relaxed about our current situation.

Mid-September drilled winter beans are nicely visible in the row now and although it seemed early at the time, I’m glad we got them in.

Although last May and June’s drought feels a long time ago, the effects are still very evident in our elderflower crop. We usually mechanically prune the mature plants at the end of picking so we get some regrowth before winter which will carry next year’s flowers.

However, this year there was virtually no growth to prune which has prompted us to change tack to winter pruning.

Unlike summer pruning, this is by hand where we try to take out one-third of the old wood.

With over 24ha to prune there’s not going to be a shortage of winter work. Looking on the bright side, with so much wildlife around you it’s never dull.

Finally, on a wet day a couple of weeks ago, we took Barley the superdog to meet a male suitor. Although she was not keen to mate the deed was done, so, hopefully, in nine weeks there should be the patter of tiny paws.

With both the kids away at university and both of them now recovering from Covid-19, it will be nice to have something to look forward to at Christmas. Now, I wonder how many Mrs C will let me keep?

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