As Julian’s article last week we too are concerned that as combinable crop growers we are in a run of later sowing leading to situation the following year of later harvesting.
It’s particularly concerning for winter oilseed rape, which ideally is sown in August and is just coming through the ground on September 1.
For most that was out off the question this year as the later sown wheat crops were still very green and not ready for harvest.
Also lack of moisture can be a critical factor especially on heavy land when you are pushed to get the plants large enough for the winter to stand up to ever relentless pigeons and frost.
With our no-till system we at least retained moisture, which allowed the seed to germinate immediately and produce a healthy plant stand.
Looking carefully at our soil, some are now coming into the seventh crop of no-till.
We are amazed at the way it has recovered considering the beating it received during last autumn.
The worms and microbes have really got to work maintaining and restructuring the soil.
We now find that when the soil is dry it seems very hard to penetrate with a spade, as with any heavy soil, the difference is to recognise with no-till it is now a honeycomb structure that is open to roots and drainage.
Time will tell if we are on the right track but we have just come through an extremely challenging season ok, with much lower costs.