For the combinable crops farmer this autumn was never going to be easy. Due to ever increasing chemical resistance, last year’s crops were infested with black grass, leading to a massive seed return waiting to reinfest the next crop.
During September we had some dry weather when we would have liked some rain to chit the weed seed, to enable us to kill them before sowing. Also this year’s seeds have higher than average dormancy. So, with this in mind, drilling was delayed.
The wettest summer on record caused unprecedented levels of slugs, even multiplying in crops such as cereals that were held damp for such long periods.
Also we have seed of very low quality due to the poor weather during crop development, causing it to have low vigour, resulting in very slow growth.
With all this in mind fingers were crossed for kind weather for what was destined to be a latish sowing period, but it was not to be, and we have had to sow into wet, weed and slug-infested cold soil with poor quality seed.
It’s not a very promising start to next year’s crops. Many fields that we managed to sow are struggling now and we are hoping for the winter to be dryer and a spring that brings weather that will allow us to catch up.
We have seen these extremes before and, as happened last year, even the most promising start doesn’t always deliver bumper crops. Who would be a farmer?