farm-notes

Tagged: farm notes

23 August, 2017

Farm News

The Villager

It sounds very repetitive but the weather does dominate farming and today it is very wet again. To put the recent rainfall into perspective when I first started farming in Bentworth in the early 1980’s the annual rainfall was about 28 to 35 inches per year – 2.5 inches a month. The rain that we have recorded since July 12th is 8.8 ins not including today’s contribution which will probably be another inch or so – just in 28 days rather than 3 months. Bad for holiday makers and farmers! ...

20 July, 2017

Farm Notes

Uncategorized

The first fields of the 2017 harvest have now been cut although none of our crops yet. Yields are apparently average which considering the dry spell in the spring and the few very hot days is ok. The largest area of cropping on all arable farms is winter wheat and until we start cutting that crop the outcome of this harvest will not be really known. My view at the moment is that I would very happily settle for an average harvest but something better would be great. Soft brome which is a grass weed has appeared in some of our fields and on other farms this year – is this a seasonal effect that has been created by this year’s weather encouraging dormant seed to germinate or a result of cropping practice? ...

28 May, 2017

Farm Notes

The Villager

The hoped for rain has arrived and crops, grass, flowers and planted vegetables will be transformed. In April we recorded about 18 mm early in the month from a Saturday storm and then a few millimetres just before the month’s end. Now the plants have the moisture in the rooting zone and will take up the nutrients. The warmer days of March and early April resulted in crop growth stages being about 12 days ahead of a normal season but the cold winds of late April slowed growth to a normal year. Growth stages are determined by dissecting the plants and identifying the growth stage from sometimes tiny embryonic leaves or ears – patience and a good blade are required. ...

30 April, 2017

Farm Notes

The Villager

When writing the Farm Diary last month the opening comments were about the wet ground conditions – how things have changed. The spring crops were planted in a 10 day period leading up to Easter finishing on the 13th April and now could do with an inch of rain although the seed was placed into moisture and is chitting. When looking at my 2016 notes I see that spring planting was completed on the 28th April so we are about 2 weeks ahead of last year. What is now required for a large harvest is regular rain (ideally about 1 inch per week) with warm but not hot days. The important factor for a good harvest is plenty of bright days, especially in May and June, for the plants to photosynthesise – grey gloomy days are not good for yields – the same as any gardeners. ...

20 March, 2017

Farm Notes

The Villager

Another month and little has changed – no crops have been planted and only a few have been fertilised because the ground is so wet. This winter’s rainfall has not been excessive but continuous with only a few drying opportunities. When I first started at Hall Farm my aim was to complete sowing of the spring barley by 12th March and the other spring crops soon after but this has not been achieved for a number of years, I guess due to climatic changes. The yields from spring crops tend to decline as the planting date moves later but one advantage of a delay is that the soil is warmer and day length longer so the crops emerge and establish much quicker partly because of the non- ploughing techniques which we use now. In preparation for the tractor activity I ordered 5000 litres of diesel today which should be enough for the sowing period but a bigger invoice than topping up a car at the BP station! ...

19 February, 2017

Farm Notes

The Villager

My last article started with some details of the ewes grazing the turnip crop in the fields down Tinkers Lane. The 42 ewes will be leaving for their maternity quarters in Medstead later this week where they will spend the days grazing grass but move indoors at night. ...

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