Farmer Focus: Rain comes just in time for grass and crops

You couldn’t make up the weather at present. I spent my last article explaining how we had gone into full drought mode and spread the sheep far and wide.

Now I will tell you how we have had huge amounts of rain and how grass is growing, and I am busy trying to mob everything back up to control it and maintain quality.

Yes, the rain has begun here. Someone upstairs must like me because it has been perfect lambing weather – not too hot, not too cold, with only one storm in the middle.

See also: 13 tips for lambing outdoors

In the past week the heavens have opened, and warm rain showers have pretty much hit us every evening.

Grass has really kicked into high gear. Winter crops that had struggled with a wet winter and then a cold, dry spring have shot into life and are going mad tillering, hopefully filling in the gaps.

Spring cropping has now roared through and seems to be doing its best to catch up with the sluggish winter crops. 

This is the first season since starting arable farming that we are not in drought and facing a crop failure of some kind. Spring wheat, peas and barley all look very well. It’s going to be exciting to see what a real growing season can bring.

The trial we did with the Mzuri cultivator drilling spring crops directly into sheep-grazed cover crops has been incredibly impressive. Next step is to use the inter-row hoe to plant a clover ley between rows of spring wheat.

It is hoped the inter-row clover will feed the wheat crop while providing mature winter food for the sheep to graze. 

We have an open day on 22 June, the day before Groundswell. (We are only a quarter of a mile away from Groundswell and will be exhibiting there as well, so do come over and grab a cup of coffee if you want to talk about sheep in arable.)

Mzuri and Trimble will be at our open day as sponsors. We will be talking about regenerative systems and showing people around the trial sites. If you are interested, log into Eventbrite.co.uk and look up “Kaiapoi” to book. Look forward to seeing you.


See Rob and Jo Hodgkins’ biography