A reprieve for the rape?

The oilseed rape, as it often does, appears to have made a remarkable recovery. Well at least some of it. We still have fields which resemble a Gouda cheese and are full of holes, with bare patches now being colonised by weeds. The field in the photo was infested with cabbage stem flea beetle larvae a few months ago and looked like a lost cause. Some fields probably still are but it is too late now. We are growing Clearfield varieties mostly due to the historical abundance of charlock. This year we have Imperial and Aquarel. The latter variety, which is very early to grow and flower in the spring, appears to have faired much better than the Imperial with the larvae. Clearly the final proof will be when the combine goes in at harvest, so we wait with bated breath. It is always impossible to second guess what the yield will be. So another reprieve for the golden crop? If there is enough moisture at sowing time then I will have another go, but only with the Aquarel and a reduced acreage. The remaining area will be winter linseed.

After 28 years working on the estate, tractor driver Ken has decided the time has come to hang up his overalls and take a well earned retirement. Like Phil, who retired a couple of years ago, he will remain on the estate and no doubt join us for social occasions and the odd trip out to look at shiny machinery. Ken’s forte was hedge cutting and visitors to the estate have always remarked on the quality of his work. Now starts the challenging job of finding his replacement.

We got rain last week! Well over 25mm, so for the time being all is good and the crops and weeds are happily growing away. The maize has just been sown in to warm, moist seedbeds so should go like a rocket. I am glad that we waited, it has still been cold here at night. Cold and dry would not have been conducive to a good maize crop. Let’s hope that’s not the last we see of the wet stuff between now and harvest.

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