90mm of rain in May and a further 90mm in June have left some crops in a sorry state. Don’t get me wrong, rain in May and June has a huge positive benefit on our drought prone soils but 60mm in a 24 hour period along with high winds does not! On the Friday before my son’s wedding (second attempt) it rained all day and blew a gale. Down went some of the winter barley and quite a lot of the winter linseed. On a positive note, despite only having 30 guests they had an amazing day on the Saturday. Having had to wait an extra year, they can now start their life together as a married couple.
We are pestered by pigeons on this farm. There is a lot of woodland to encourage them in and also, being very near to Reading, the urban dwelling pigeons fly onto the farm in search of something to eat. As a consequence we have on average 1500 grey flying visitors a day. It didn’t take them long to find the laid crops which they are now gleefully feeding on. Pigeon control is now at the top of the agenda as we wait for harvest.
The wet weather has encouraged more weeds to come into the crops this year. In the cereals my grass weed control is very poor this season. A lack of spraying days in the spring and later growth of the invading weeds has left everything looking a bit messy. The winter linseed has been a nightmare to keep weed free as there are now so few herbicides we can use. I shan’t miss it next year when we drop it from the rotation.
We often start harvest around the 14th July with winter barley. This year everything is at least 10-14 days behind. It has been all spring to be honest. We have just desiccated the linseed despite the seed capsules all being at different stages. It is so weedy in places we now look at it as a rescue job rather than a crop to harvest.
We had a no disease present result from our rapid leaf testing before applying our flag leaf fungicide to the wheat. I had managed to source some Univoq, the new fungicide from Corteva to try. From looking at the fungicide response curves and talking to a local agronomist, in view of the low disease I went at half rate. Bad idea! Whilst initially it seemed to work really well it has now run out of steam with both septoria and yellow rust coming in. In adjacent fields, with similar treatment and sowing date where I had used the fungicide Ascara at just over three quarters of a full dose rate, it is very clean still. We have a variable spraying trial on another field using Revystar and that too is still holding back disease. It will be interesting to compare the yields on all of these fields after the combine has mapped them. Note to self, don’t try to be too clever, the weather often conspires against you!