Finally, finally, the warm weather came. The cold spring that I talked about last month turned out to be much colder and longer than we thought it was going to be, and that has caused some big problems for our spring planted crops. What we really want at this time of year is for the seeds to germinate and grow away quickly, so that they keep head of any nasties trying to eat them, and the roots develop well and can take in as much water as possible as the weather dries up. A month of freezing weather does not help at all, and some of our crops have suffered badly. In particular we have been plagued with slugs in the spring barley, some of which looks pretty sorry for itself. We are not alone in this, all around the country whole fields have been written off after slugs ate every plant; that’s one problem with such a warm winter with no frosts to keep their numbers down.
Although we have loved the sunshine and warmth, it did mean that when we applied liquid nitrogen fertiliser to our wheats, we have ‘scorched’ the tips of the leaves. This turns them yellow and makes the whole field look a bit sick. It’s mainly a cosmetic problem, and soon they will be nice and dark green again – hopefully.
The big change this month has been the arrival of 79 young cattle, aged from seven to nine months. They are a really nice bunch, not mad and hyperactive like the ones we were sent last year. They live up near Newton, and having been trained on what an electric fence looks like, are now on the field called Home, which you can see on the Thriplow Farms website map as usual. The are grazing a herbal ley, made famous recently by featuring on The Archers, and get moved every day into a new cell of grass. Please go and take a look, and let me know if you see any where they shouldn’t be!
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.