Should have kept the cultivator locked away

And so the drought continues. We are yet to receive half of our annual rainfall and are currently 178mm down for the year. This means we are either due a deluge or the new land drains will not be tested.

Despite the lack of rain, all crops look well. Oilseed rape is in desperate need of either a flock of sheep/pigeons or some growth regulator, and the wheat is generally moving in the right direction.

The direct-drilled wheat looks great. I just wish I had paid more heed to the nation’s premier business guru, Del Boy, and his immortal line: “He who dares, wins”. Next year I will have fewer reservations and a bit more of a bullish attitude and try and keep the cultivator firmly under lock and key. All the cultivator achieved this year was to dry out the land, which I fear may lead to a flush of blackgrass in the emerging wheat crop.

Every year I look back over the harvest season and highlight the positive and negative aspects of the campaign. This year the positives were the people. From the service engineers, to Vicky providing harvest meals for the parish’s combining gangs and the locals who never once complained about grain trailers charging around late into the night.

I would like to make particular mention of my combine driver, Tim, who now likes to be referred to as the “farm manger”. He is somewhat of a rough diamond, with the next money-making scheme never far from his thoughts, but he has put all the experienced local combine drivers to shame with his miserly losses and exceptional output, coupled with an infectious enthusiasm for the job. I hope he will be back next year, if only to prove he wasn’t copying my combine settings from last year!

Will Howe farms 384ha of medium to heavy land at Ewerby Thorpe Farm, near Sleaford, Lincolnshire, growing wheat, oilseed rape and winter beans

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