After the rain we had over the Whitsun holiday weekend, all crops have improved considerably. In particular, the spring barley has tillered very well to at least disguise the gaps caused by the cloddy seed beds so, from the cart track, one can be fooled into thinking that we have a fair crop in the field. I won’t get my hopes up too high but this is a crop which has surprised us before. Large ears of bold grain can make up for lack of plants sometimes. Who said farmers are always pessimistic.
Our sugar beet fields look quite dramatic with some large plants looming over the majority of tiny ones which have only emerged in the last two weeks. However, moisture and warmth are accelerating their growth and with a bit of favourable weather the crops will be fine. I thought I had got away with my debut at drilling beet with only some wobbly rows to embarrass me. Not so. I managed to drill, about 3 acres with my markers muddled which resulted in one set of three rows almost on top of the last. Mick and Ivan have resurrected their skills at hand hoeing sugar beet to correct my mistake. They have been very understanding but I suspect I will get some severe leg pulling from the harvester driver in the autumn.
The next few weeks should see us making hay n the various bits of grassland we have. I enjoy this quite a lot but am always a bit nervous about the weather until we have got it into the barn sweet and dry. We need about 2 weeks of dry sunny weather with a bit of wind in an ideal world. The same weather will suit our cereal crops as well. When I write the next notes I may be elated or downcast. Who knows? Most of the machinery has now been serviced for harvest but we still have our heavy cultivator press to rebuild. This was getting a bit worn and as we will be pulling it with 300hp instead of 200hp this year we felt that the press wheels needed replacing. They are prone to cracking in very dry conditions and are quite time consuming to replace so we are hoping for a trouble free season.
We will be attending the large cereals exhibition at Royston next week which is the best and largest arable agricultural event in the calendar. It is a very large site so most of the machinery, seed and chemical suppliers will be there. The Common Agricultural Policy is changing next year with much more emphasis on environmentally friendly practices so we will be trying to find out what new initiatives on conservation and anti-pollution measures we will be encouraged to take. We are expected to implement them next year ie. from August onwards and the detail has not been announced yet. Defra likes to keep us on our toes!! 8 weeks to come to terms with the biggest changes for 10 years!
Last November several friends from the 6VN area joined Inertia Reel band for our anniversary dance. It went so well we are holding a non-anniversary dance on Friday 7th November at Kesgrave Community Centre. All proceeds will be shared with Ipswich Samaritans and another local charity. Tickets will go on sale in a month or so but please register an interest with me whenever you like. We sold out last time and had to disappoint some people.