I HAVE measured over 110mm of rain at Poolham Hall Farm in June and at the time of writing, there is still a week until the end of the month.
This excess of rain has done my crops no good whatsoever.
The lack of sunlight will now be reducing the yield potential of the oilseed rape and winter wheat.
A comprehensive fungicide programme has kept disease in the bottom of the crops of wheat, but this will be to no avail unless sunlight allows the plants to photosynthesise and produce the starch needed to fill the grains during the ripening process.
The next four weeks will be critical in determining our final yields.
I was able to spend a few hours at ‘Cereals,’ held once again at Boothby Graffoe.
There was a tremendous display of agricultural machinery once again, and, speaking to sales staff, there appears to be a lot more interest from farmers in returning to the plough, presumably as a result of the increasing levels of blackgrass that are evident in crops of wheat throughout the country.
I will stick my neck on the line now and say that unless a completely new chemical is produced for the control of blackgrass in wheat, the only way to continue in current rotations will require a return to burning straw in affected areas after harvest.
There is no point whatsoever in farmers trying to grow winter wheat on soils known to have high levels of herbicide resistant blackgrass.
The drop in yields and extra costs of chemicals make the crop a viable, even at today’s commodity prices.
My real purpose for attending Cereals this year, however, was to spend some time investigating the renewables sector of the show.
The first thing that became immediately apparent to me was how well the solar panel manufacturers have done in the last couple of years.
This is on the back of our Government allowing the electricity companies to pay a much higher feed in price to the solar energy producers who then pass it on to every household in the country.
It is funny how these same panels can be bought at less than half the price today purely because the new producers are being paid less money for the electric their panels are producing.
As I am not an expert in renewables, I have agreed to employ one to do a farm appraisal and see if there are indeed any opportunities available for me that might now be profitable.
I am hoping that I may still be in the situation where I am the second mouse that gets to eat the cheese and not finding myself shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.
That said, as in any business, especially if it is a new enterprise, it is important to spend time investigating the project before spending any money and not the other way around.
One effect of the heavy rain and high winds of the last three weeks is that about 30 per cent of my oilseed rape crop has been flattened.
This will provide a good test for my new Class combine and its vario header which I have been assured copes with oilseed rape equally as well as my old powerflow header on my Massey Ferguson.
It is also not an easy time for farmers who wish to make hay, needing at least a week of continuous dry weather to ensure a top quality crop is harvested.
The specialist home market will only accept the best quality produce, leaving the grower holding lower quality bales losing money.
Here’s hoping for twelve weeks of sunshine!
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Weather for Horncastle
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 4 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: North west