I am a glass half full type of person as I am sure most farmers probably are. Otherwise, why would you plant something 10 months in advance of harvesting, not knowing what the weather was going to throw at you? My precision agriculture problems of the last few weeks are slowly progressing towards a solution, but we are not there yet. Thanks to long conversations with both Soyl and Fieldview we will eventually be back on track. Soyl, as usual, have pulled out all the stops to help us and I am confident we will be able to at least put on our final application of nitrogen for protein variably. The data point issue is going to take a little longer to sort, but I am certain it will be resolved. As I said before, with spreading/spraying widths anywhere between 24-48 metres, we need less data points not more for our applications. An hour’s WhatsApp conversation with Fabio, head of European operations for Fieldview, whilst spraying the winter barley didn’t really get us a solution. However, with my optimistic hat on I think we will get there. The problem seems to be that the American system does not yet recognise the rate controller that Chafer uses on our sprayer.
The 19mm of rain last week has had a beneficial effect on all the crops, particularly the wheat on the gravel, which was quite stressed resulting in patches of yellow rust. Hopefully this will have been addressed with the recently applied fungicides. This was in both the Skyfall and Zyatt varieties. The spring cereals are now taking off and the maize, which we have just finished planting, will have benefited as well from the rain. It also allowed us to put on a pre emergent herbicide, which always helps improve weed control but would never have worked on the dry soil.
The winter linseed, which in some fields is just coming into flower, is all over the place this year in terms of growth stages. It has been a real hassle to get application timings right. The pigeons have held it back where they have grazed it and I hope those areas can now catch up. The flooding down by the river hasn’t helped much either. However, it’s probably still better than rape, which may be why there isn’t any grown locally this year. I keep apologising to any bees I see looking for pollen, as all I have to offer them is the wisteria on the side of the house. We have sown a few hectares of Phacelia in the middle of the village, which should help the bees and maybe cheer up some of the locked down locals when it comes into flower.
By the way, the beer is brewed in a redundant farm building on our yard and is most definitely the best beer in the world. Sorry Heineken, ‘probably the best’ is nowhere near a description for this one.