Tongue End farmer on difficult growing season

Julian Davis.
Julian Davis.
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The dust is beginning to settle after the Brexit vote, writes Julian Davis.

I was on holiday on polling day, on a ship populated mainly with Americans and Canadians but also with a good representation of many other countries.

It made for a number of interesting conversations; intriguing how we are viewed by the rest of the world. There was a major downside to the out vote: Sterling sinking like a brick made everything rather expensive very quickly. I was pleased Jane had sorted all the currencies before we left.

Back home it appeared to have rained solidly for two weeks. Crops already dishevelled by a very variable spring were not improved by the June ‘monsoon’. In particular wheat, now showing high levels of disease on the ear, which may lead to a reduction in bushel weight and an increased risk of mycotoxins on the grain. It has been a difficult growing season.

The last few days the thermometer has topped 30 degrees and no doubt there will be a thunderstorm or two floating around. For oilseed rape this is a very vulnerable two weeks. As the crop ripens, the pods dry and become brittle and shatter easily, dropping the seed to the ground. A heavy hailstorm can destroy a crop in a matter of seconds. There are methods used to reduce pod shatter such as varietal tolerance, and chemical products (often latex) sprayed onto the crop to help enhance the pod integrity. But these are aids and not a solution to a heavy hail storm.

Happy harvesting!