We are taking social distancing to the limit here in this photo. No gatherings over 2 people and at least 2 metres apart. I think we have ticked those boxes. We meet each morning in the large and airy workshop. We started off 2 metres apart and are now nearer 5 metres. The three tractors that we run are all 215 horsepower John Deere but each with a different gearbox and tyre configuration. Each tractor has a number of specific operations that it is used for, such as the one in the foreground, which is normally the sprayer tractor. The staffing is now geared up so that we can all hop onto any machine and keep the job going if a member of staff has to be away. Never has this been more important than right now. However the one flaw in this plan is Corvid-19, as now we have to stick to 1 man 1 tractor. Still, we have made it work so far with the exception of the loader where gloves and hand sanitiser have been the order of the day, as we all use it at some point. When moving it between sites I now have the pleasure of that job so that my wife Liz can move me back afterwards as we can no longer have 2 members of staff in the same vehicle.
Even with all this going on we have just finished establishing 210ha of spring cereals, most of which were not in the original cropping plan. My hope of not moving any soil other than with the drill didn’t last very long. The run of sun and cold easterlies soon dried out the soil, which combined with the capping of the surface from the heavy winter rain, left us with concrete. There was just no way the drill could create a slot for the seed. So in the end we had to move the soil directly in front of the drill, then roll it behind to conserve moisture.
The winter linseed, with the exception of one field, looks pretty rough thanks in part to the cold winds and low overnight temperatures and not helped by the pigeons. Anyway apparently summer will be here on Sunday and with it will come hordes of walkers. It seems mass trespass has become the way to exercise during the lockdown.
One piece of good news to finish on, the GTL fuel that we have been buying in from Certas has sorted out the issues with filters. The tractors haven’t missed a beat since.