Time for some optimism?

Amazingly this winter linseed has spent most of the last few months submerged, mostly for just a week at a time, but it is still hanging in there. I am hopeful that it will recover and the surrounding fields that we failed to get drilled over the winter might still get a crop in for harvest. The sun, working with the wind last week, has begun the slow process of drying out the soils. However, it is now time to adopt a different mentality to that of the winter. Up until we gave up on establishing any more wheat, this brief respite from the rain would have seen us out drilling. Now we need to wait for the soil to dry out and warm up. The last thing a spring crop needs is to go into cold, wet soils and just sit there. My gut feeling is not to move any ground for fear of damaging the fragile structure, stimulating black grass and yes, losing moisture, as the inevitable spring drought kicks in.

Tractor driver Jay has moved on for personal reasons, so we thank him for all his hard work and wish him good luck in his new ventures. We welcome this week Trevor Bailey, who is joining Ian and I on the farm and we both look forward to working with him.

My policy of little and often with the nitrogen fertiliser on the winter cereals has seen us move onto the nitrogen and sulphur dose. So far it has all been blanket spreading as the rates are quite low. My thoughts are to move onto variable applications as I increase the doses when the crop growth accelerates. Managing the backward crops is going to make this even more important this year. I will be looking to vary my growth regulators and fungicide applications during these important, early growth stages as well.

Corvid 19, until recently, inspired some witty one liners on the internet. I particularly liked the one about how many loo rolls to swap for a new tractor. It has now taken on a much more serious tone as we struggle to decide how best to protect ourselves and our loved ones. So many people and businesses will be affected and we must all do our best to help those less fortunate or in need. So I find it particularly galling that the ‘me first’ culture has lead to panic buying in the shops. Maybe the upside of all of this will be to illustrate the folly of running down our domestic farming industry. We are not Singapore with no productive farmland. On the contrary, with our ideally suited climate we should be encouraging our farmers to become more efficient to help feed an uncertain world. We are the solution not the problem. This could be the end of globalisation.

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