South: Well structured soils can deal with the rainfall

The call back to Cropwatch is a timely reminder that the new season is shortly about to begin, if it hasn’t already. Last November I commented about this being the third winter in a row where we’ve had a definite cut-off date to winter operations as a result of excessively high winter rainfall. But this year, hopefully, things might be a bit different.

Firstly, the rainy season started earlier, which might mean that it finishes earlier. Secondly, the rain has fallen onto generally well structured ground as a result of the dry spell we had post-harvest last autumn. This results in fields becoming suitable for travel much quicker than we would normally expect. Also, good structure means that crops will be well rooted and able to recover well from the rainfall.

The recent trend of long spells of wet followed by dry, lead me to wonder whether we shouldn’t pre-empt the weather and not hold back on nitrogen applications this spring. We’d look really silly if we had well established crops with half-metre roots starving hungry because all our applied nitrogen is sitting on the surface of drought-ridden soils in the middle of April.

We’ve also had a decent spell of cold weather. What a wonderful fungicide that is. Not to mention growth regulator. And cultivator. All of which puts us in a positive position for the start of the new season. The forecast I saw today was for settled weather for the foreseeable future; my personal fear is that when this goes to press I shall be on my annual holiday and that when I get back the new season will have well and truly begun. If that’s the case, on my return, I shall have to hit the ground running. Oh well…

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