An April shower leaves the records in tatters.

When I sit down to write these blogs it is always with a sense of anxious anticipation. Although thoughts about what I might write next are often passing through my addled brain, it’s not until I start typing that I actually find out what topics will appear. Earlier in the week I decided it must be lack of rainfall. Could we be on to a record breaker? My previous lowest April rainfall since I started here in 2003 was 1mm in 2007. Thankfully last night blew that one away and yesterday’s 0.3mm has now turned into 12.7mm. Just as well, because the wheat on the lighter soils was starting to look a bit sick. Having sat in water all winter, the winter cereals’ roots haven’t gone very deep and none of this was helped by the cold easterlies that came once the rain stopped.

Spring is my favourite time of year with new life bursting out all around and the greyness of winter replaced with a multitude of colours. With the bluebells now in full bloom and the trees all waking up, crop walking is a pleasure.

I still can’t quite believe what a difference there is in the home saved, spring barley sown without a seed dressing as it continues to outpace the bought in dressed seed. We used a mobile seed cleaner and asked them to clean it hard to get the boldest of grains. I have heard it claimed before, that seed native to the area is often more vigorous. I think it is probably a combination of several things. However, if you cost it out properly with bags, seed cleaning, royalties, value of the grain if sold and staff costs, it is not as cheap as some would claim. Maybe these other benefits, particularly if the seed is tested and can go dressing free, means we should once again use home saved seed for part of our requirement. Mind you, I have a large pile of bought in seed left over from last autumn currently filling up my shed.

It’s been a frustrating week on the precision ag front. Firstly, the trial with the Fieldview hub has so far failed to connect to my Chafer sprayer, despite the fact that it is Isobus and is controlled via the John Deere 2630 screen. The cab app on the iPad wirelessly picks up the tractor engine’s data but not the sprayer. A cable is now being sent so we wait and see if that will work. Added to this, software changes by Soyl mean I cannot get variable spreading files for growth regulators to work on the sprayer. The previous system worked really well. If is isn’t broke then don’t change it, springs to mind. So my quest to find the perfect system continues and my faith in precision agriculture has taken a bit of a battering. Never mind, loads to distract me at the moment. As is usual at this time of year, you have to run just to keep up with the speed everything moves at.

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