It has been a pretty cool early spring, just like in 2015. Unlike last year however, it has also been very wet. One of the benefits of our farming system is that by not moving the soil we keep more moisture there, so when the almost inevitable summer drought comes, the plants can go that little bit longer without getting any rain. The flip side of that is that in a wet spring the soils don’t dry out very quickly, and so it is more difficult to drill our crops. We have managed to get almost everything in the ground, although on the heavier clay soils towards the north of the farm it did make a bit of a mess. Now all we have left to do is a field of linseed down near the A505, and a small field of maize, on the road between Thriplow and Fowlmere.
Elsewhere the main work is centred around the constant fight to keep the wheat leaves free of disease so that they can capture as much sunlight as possible, and at the same time giving them their second and final dose of fertiliser. We will soon have livestock back on the farm when 80 young cattle arrive for the summer. Not long after that, probably some time in May, a flock of sheep will also arrive to graze a mixed cover crop on Perrins, which is just to the north of Thriplow – go on the website to see a map. There are tracks all around it for public access, so if you want a challenge go and see which plant species you can find from this list that we planted: millet, vetch, linseed, sunflower, clover, radish, rape and turnip. Good luck!
WTFIH @ Thriplow Farms is aimed at anyone, not just farmers, who are interested in what we are doing throughout the year. It is originally published in the Fowlmere & Thriplow Newsletter.