Farmer Focus: Wet weather forces sprayer back into the shed

Following a couple of drier weeks, we have suffered a spell of intense rain, bringing our annual rainfall back to average.

I was lucky to be away for most of it, enjoying some fine weather while visiting a friend in Wales. 

About 200mm fell over four days, causing the River Don to burst its banks into several fields, flooding properties in nearby towns and villages and tragically sweeping a local woman away. 

See also: Farmer Focus: Evaluate yourself (and aphid levels)

About the author

Robert Drysdale
Arable Farmer Focus writer
Robert Drysdale is farm manager at Monymusk Estate, growing winter and spring barley, wheat and oilseed rape across 1600ha on 4 contract farming agreements to the south of Inverurie in Aberdeenshire. The farm also has 130 beef cows running on land that is less suitable for crop production with the majority of calves being finished on the farm.
Read more articles by Robert Drysdale

My thanks go to the farm staff who spent two days moving calves around and bringing in cows to get them out of the wet and, in some cases, submerged fields.

Extreme events such as these are not new. Years such as 1985, 2002 and 2016 spring to mind, but we are having extremes more often, with winds last winter, heat this summer and now rain. 

We are lucky that many riverside fields are still stubble, so suffering less than those in winter crop.

However, there looks to be significant damage to flood banks and areas of field scoured by the power of the floodwater removing soil and depositing stones on what was previously some of our best land.

The sprayer will have to get anti-freeze and be put away, as it is very unlikely we will get suitable conditions to complete the autumn fungicide and insecticide applications to OSR. 

With some fields untreated, it will be an unplanned comparison, particularly on the number of larvae in plants in spring.

We took the opportunity to tidy up, with a big skip soon filled with worn parts and the other metal that seems to gather in corners of the yard. 

Waste oil, filters and so on have gone for specialist disposal, and bags, spray cans and cardboard were baled up for recycling. It’s amazing how much time is taken during the year to deal with waste disposal.

With no Scottish representation at the World Cup, I will not lose too much time watching football over the next few weeks. Good luck to England and Wales in their games.

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