Farmer Focus: Flood causes serious damage to maize crops

Having left my last article on an agricultural cliffhanger, I can unfortunately confirm that we did have a flood and it was pretty significant.

Is our climate getting more extreme? We always seem to be comparing current weather events to historic ones, so they obviously happened before. And, as my late grandfather always used to say, he had seen a flood in every month of the year. 

Anyway, back to the outcome: the water was probably on the fields for 56 days and, having walked the ground since it subsided, I would say we have lost 6ha of maize completely and the remaining 10ha has been stunted.

I have since been over it with the cultivator, rolls and spun some “fast” grass on. So, the best-case scenario is that we will get a crop of grass off in September and it will help protect the soil when it floods again in the winter.

See also: Flooded maize growers face wait to assess crop damage

I am feeling a little more philosophical about it all than I was at the time, buoyed by the 10ha being grown for us by a neighbour, which has really kicked on in all this sunshine. 

The herd is freshening up now, with the days in milk creeping back down to the magic 150-160 range, so with the forage we have about, it will hopefully turn into plenty of milk.

Fertility is certainly proving a challenge at the moment. A combination of the heat and high milk ureas are challenging the cows.

Poor fertility is one thing that makes me anxious very quickly. We have made a few diet tweaks now, so hopefully that will resolve things. It is just a matter of wait and see; something I’m not very good at.

We are now eagerly awaiting the wholecrop wheat harvest. The crop looks good, so we need to get the timing right in ripeness terms.

My money has been on the wheat ripening in Royal Welsh Show week, when our staff seem to make their annual pilgrimage.

Read more about Shropshire farmer Henry Wilson