farm talk by moulton grower

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Mentioning the weather in a newspaper is normally guaranteed to cause it to change. I will, however, risk it and mention that we appear at last to be drying out for the first time since last September.

We have started winter ploughing again since stopping at the end of October. I don’t see the point in ploughing waterlogged land, as though it might temporarily hide the sodden and damaged soil, it will only lead to poor crops the following season, as the plant’s roots struggle through stagnant anaerobic conditions.

We should have the last of 2013’s potato land turned over by the time you read this and started on ploughing last year’s potato land, which has been wet through since we finished the potato harvest. If we manage to get seven more days of dry weather we should be caught up.

It surprises and disappoints me to see how many farms failed to check drain outlets and culverts, despite having waterlogged fields. Understanding the importance of field drainage maintenance on fenland fields, along with practising good soil science, seems to be lacking in many of the younger farmers and managers of today. The old hands of yesteryear must have been wringing their hands in despair in their watery graves over the last few months.

Now I have to decide what to do with wheat fields drowned within days of November drilling.