WTFIH @ Thriplow Farms, August 2016

You may have noticed that I am somewhat obsessed with the weather. Not just obsessed though, but also incredibly fickle. This is how my thought process has been from March until mid July: too cold – too dry – just right! (for a week) – too wet – too cold. In other words, we are never really happy for more than a week, or maybe two at a maximum. We now have enough moisture in the ground, and what is really needed for a great harvest is sunshine, and warmth. The barley down at the southern end of the farm, HC 1 & HC 4, is getting very close to being ripe, and we are on target to start harvest in the middle of July. The oilseed rape is looking like it will be a bit later than normal, so perhaps towards the end of the month. Because we have had so much rain all of the wheat is still very green, which is normally a good sign, although it means a later harvest. One problem we have had with the wet weather is that it came over the period when our spring beans were flowering. This interferes with the pollinator insects and so although the crop looks great from the outside, there is a worrying lack of pods when you take a closer look.

Before harvest we will be re-drilling the small field between Fowlmere and Thriplow. It was supposed to be maize, but the seed never germinated. Now we will put in a green manure cover crop, and plant wheat into that sometime in October. The only other bit of work to be done is to spray some of our oilseed rape where it has been badly attacked by pigeons. This makes the plants mature more quickly, so that it can be harvested (hopefully) before the pods shatter and drop all the seed onto the floor – then we will be flat out combining for most of August.

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