Firebugs torch 100t of Jon Parker’s straw bales

It’s not often I ask for rain during harvest, but with 400ha of Palmedor oilseed rape sitting in dust I was getting worried. As per usual, we had a wet bank holiday weekend, with a total of 50mm of rainfall.

The slugs must have been waiting in anticipation as no sooner had it stopped raining they were out in force looking for their favorite delicacy, my cotyledon-stage rape plants. Our bait points showed quite a high level of slug activity, so it’s time to apply a low dose of metaldehyde.

As we establish our rape with a seeder on a subsoiler, we have to wait until the rape has emerged before applying a herbicide. But with the mild weather this, hopefully, won’t be too long as we like to get the herbicide on before the cranesbill has emerged or we end up wasting time and money applying it.

The other benefit of the rain is that our scrap metal pile, hopefully, won’t get too much bigger as the ground was eating wearing parts on a daily basis and Ian, the farm foreman, spent more time out of the seat changing parts than on it putting rape in. The rain also means that we can stop irrigating the onions.

We nearly had a month without unwanted farm visitors, but that was shattered on bank holiday Monday when 100t of straw bales went up in flames at 9.30am. Many thanks to the fire service for their rapid response. Whoever started the fire made sure no bales could be saved as the stack was lit all the way round its base.

As we look to start drilling wheat and another season ends I would like to thank all involved with harvest and cultivations for their hard work.

Arable farmer focus: Jon Parker

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