Sopping start in N Ireland

Saturated soils, with only four days dry enough (Oct 9-12) for cereal drilling since oilseed rape sowing on Sept 1, are taking their toll on farmers weekly”s Northern Ireland barometer farm near Londonderry.

At the start of the week about 20% of Richard Kane’s 88ha of wheat was still unsown. “Even my father Jim, who has farmed here for 50 years, has never seen it so wet.”

The sodden autumn follows a harvest when no grain came in below 20% moisture, with much at 25%. “Even if it’s dry for one day, it’s wet the next.”

Recent colder weather means that emergence is patchy. “It’s not too bad considering the conditions, but I reckon we have possibly lost 25%.