North: Last chance saloon may still be open

No doom here, we’re all practising the power of positive thinking. Now with five dry days in a row, last week’s heavy rain is just starting to go. Will we still get any winter wheat sown? Are we mad? Probably. The last-chance saloon may yet have its doors prised open, very slowly.  If it lasts until the weekend and there is a bit of wind, then there might yet be some sowing. A little got done a fortnight ago, but it was only a little.  

Anyhow, its not going to allow full-scale sowing for a while yet as its mainly heavy land and it will take a fair bit of drying. Plans are in place for a whole load of spring cereals of all types; wheat, barley & oats. Its not even sown yet and the traders are putting pressure on spring barleys, quoting a massive surplus. That may be, but there’s much uncertainty at home and abroad, so its still anyone’s guess how it will turn out in the end. Remember; we’re being positive. There’s no point decrying it before its even sown, otherwise we might as well not bother.

Will there be land fallowed this year? No chance. What farmer worth his salt is going to stand back and leave good land idle when there’s still opportunity to get stuck in and make a margin. Good grain prices and slightly softer fertiliser costs mean that its well worth having a go. It will all be sown with something.

Agronomy now consists of assessing fields that were sown last autumn and deciding what is a crop and what isn’t. Many hang in the balance. They need a little bit of nitrogen, some drying, a bit of warmth and a month’s grace before we know whether they are worth keeping or not. Its going to try the patience of a lot of farmers and the tenacity of agronomists to believe what half a crop is capable of.

What is definitely a write-off is any sowing on frost in December and clapped down with rain straight after. Not surprisingly, these were a total waste of time and also wrecked soil structure in the process. These unhappy sights will probably be the last sown and the worst yields because of impatience to get on when it wasn’t fit.

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