North: Cold weather hammers crops

For a brief moment crops popped their head above the snow and yawned, before receiving another withering icy blast. It is difficult to imagine that snow actually does provide a nice warm blanket but with air temperatures of -8?c, under the snow it was a snug + 2?c. So it is no surprise that this last cold snap produced huge leaf loss.

Having watched the speed skating in Vancouver I have decided that any training regime should include walking heavy clay fields. Within 10 meters of the gateway you are carrying 10kgs on each foot! This must be good training. It goes without saying that you also now have to advise your clients that you have accessed a waterlogged field as the craters your foot prints leave will require remedial action for the Soil protection review.

It is always a joy to have the manufacturers telling us not to applyherbicides until temperatures reach a critical number. This at thecurrent rate of progress will be in mid May and what a tank mix thatwould be.Late drilled crops have been particularly hard hit and, in myopinionyield will be affected most. Looking forward there appears to be littlerespite on the cards from the weather and some yield impact is likelyon all crops. This is due to the inability to apply trace elements,herbicides and fungicides either because of the ground conditions orweather.

Spring drilling needless to say has not started. The current outlookfor Spring Barley is so bleak that fallow is certainly a better optionon some farms. Having recently returned from the States where therewill be an increase in plantings of Cotton Maize and Soya Beans theoutlook for wheat maybe a bit brighter, let’s hope so.

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