Leonard Morris

22 May 1998

Leonard Morris

Leonard Morris is tenant at

206ha (510-acre) White

House Farm, South Kyme

Fen, Lincoln. His heavy land

grows winter wheat and

oilseed rape and spring peas

and linseed. Lighter ground

is cropped with potatoes,

spring rape and linseed

APRIL weather seemed to have the sole goal of raining on as many days as possible, which left us to finish drilling the linseed and Linola on the light farm on odd days when we could.

The first of the linseed was nicely up before the last was drilled at the end of the month. By then the wheats on the heavy land were starting to show signs of being wet for too long, with yellow areas starting to appear. It was decided to apply 175kg/ha of ammonium nitrate to help them on, even though it was a lot wetter than when we would normally go on the heavy land.

In many places there was water standing in the tramlines and at one time I had a duck swimming down the tramline in front of the tractor. A friend near Worcester went one better – he found two pike in his barley.

But the many periods of rain did allow me to get my IACS forms filled in earlier than normal and delivered to Nottingham.

May arrived with a change. Instead of rain we had sunshine and strong winds. We worked down the heavy land ploughing for linseed as soon as the conditions were suitable. But by the time I had drilled it the wind had dried it out and the dust was blowing.

The second half of the pea field was then drilled, exactly six weeks late. Much to my annoyance, we could do with some rain now to get the crops well germinated. Another effect the sun and wind had was to cause the wheat fields to start cracking open. You could see roots drying out, and as it has been so wet I would expect the crops to be shallow rooted, so causing more damage than normal.

The linseed and linola are growing well, but the spring rape is backward and now under pigeon attack.

Unfortunately, wheat spraying is later than it should be and it will be interesting to see how the new triazoles and strobilurins cope. &#42

Early morning shooting to protect vulnerable spring rape has been a must, says Leonard Morris.

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