WTFIH @ Thriplow Farms, June 2017

I finished the column last month by complaining about the weather, wishing for a wet Easter weekend, and I’m going to have to start off now in the same vein. The last significant bit of rain we had was towards the end of March, coming up for two months ago. If there is one saving grace, it’s that the weather has been fairly cool – although that looks like changing – but even so we are really starting to suffer with the dry conditions. These days I try to stick to the northern half of the farm, above Thriplow, as the heavier textured soil up there is much better at holding on to moisture so the crops look significantly better at the moment. Venturing down towards the A505 is a depressing occupation, as the wheat turns more and more yellow by the day. The crops which have been drilled in the spring still have a little bit of water left, as they are not yet big enough to drink a lot, but that won’t last for long. It is certainly a season when I am grateful that we have not ploughed or cultivated any of our land, a practice which is very effective at drying out the soil. I’m even more relieved that we have no animals this year, as the grass is just not growing, but at least that means my lawn doesn’t need cutting very often either.

All of this trouble makes our life pretty difficult as farmers, since we don’t know what to do with the crops. Do we continue to spend money on them, and hope the weather turns good in the near future, or do we massively reduce the inputs, effectively cutting our losses. If we do the latter, and then we get a lot of rain, it’s very likely that we will have a lot of diseases in the crops as we let the protection slip, but if we continue to spend money and there is no rain, we have just thrown it away for nothing. A crystal ball would always be useful on a farm, but never more so than now.

This is one of our lightest fields, and the gravel patches are already showing up badly at the beginning of May

This is one of our lightest fields, and the gravel patches are already showing up badly at the beginning of May

2 thoughts on “WTFIH @ Thriplow Farms, June 2017

  1. Hello David
    Bad luck. We had drought last year, and yields was terrible.
    What are the two circles in the nearest end of the field? Historic activity or?
    And the field to the right in the end far away: There is the crop more green in some parts of the tramlines. Sprayer or fertilizer or?
    Regards Soren

    • The circles are “Ring Ditches”, some sort of old settlement.

      The top right is where we sprayed off a crop of oats last year because of blackgrass. That field is now wheat.

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