Farmer Focus: Second heat wave of the year hits

Well, the 75mm of rain in June was certainly appreciated. It saved the day for winter wheats and helped the spring-sown sugar beet and maize – at one stage in mid-June you could almost see these crops growing.

Then, the second heat wave of the year arrived and yet again moisture availability became a significant challenge, which meant the winter barley really ran out of steam and as a result is now ready to harvest.

As mentioned when I last wrote, not all of the beet had fared so well. Two fields had to be re-sown – almost a complete failure. The cause? Well, we are not all that certain, but no doubt it was a combination of factors: poor germination, chemicals either not working or working too well, and of course we can always blame the weather.

See also: Crop Watch: Very short crops and a grain aphid invasion

When the shelter barley continues to thrive and the beet dies there must be a good reason. Hopefully tests will help us get to the bottom of this soon.

I do hope that we have a late closing factory, an open autumn and a mild winter to help get some yield out of this May-sown crop.

We were lucky with a mid-May-sown crop a few years ago when we had to replant after windblow took the beet away in April, so it’s fingers crossed this time!

Of course, we all know that is one of the many risks of farming. It’s not always guaranteed, much in the same way as the income from our diverse enterprises over recent months!

I do find it ironic that we have been encouraged to diversify to support our core farming business for many years now. Of course this has been exactly the right thing to do, but the present crisis has clearly demonstrated that we all need to ensure that our farming is as good as it can be, so that we make money to support our diversification projects in their times of need.

The lack of events income here is having its financial impact, but the cows have appreciated their extended grazing area in the dry time and its certainly been a lot quieter without all of those people – sorry, customers – bothering us. Hopefully we can end the summer with a few drive-in movie evenings and a couple of horse events.

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