farm-notes

Tagged: farm notes

21 March, 2020

Farm Diary

Events The Villager

The rainfall recorded in February was the most for any month in this wet winter 225.5 mm (9.13 ins) and over only 29 days. The good news is that today I heard a weather forecast that said a warm dry spell is coming – you have no idea how much I hope this is true because the situation is getting pretty serious on the farm. ...

16 November, 2018

Farm Diary

The Villager

Today is 9th November and the arable part of the farm has quietened considerably. Planting the winter crops was completed on the 19th October with approx. 85 acres of oilseed, 90 acres of barley and 490 acres of wheat sown since late September. The most productive day was 93 acres of wheat sown but that included an 11.30 pm finish because heavy rain was predicted. (It did rain heavily so the long day was worthwhile). Once a seedbed is created the seed needs to be sown quickly because even if the soil is dry rain will quickly make that field impossible to plant into the fine soil because it becomes a quagmire after maybe only 0.5 inches of rain. The aim when sowing in the field (or garden) is for a healthy soil environment with the correct fertility, soil structure and micro- organisms. This will enable the seed to receive nutrients and most importantly moisture to help the seed chit (grow shoots and roots). The structure is different to soil texture. Soil texture is the soil composition and little can be done about that – if your soil is sandy or stony it will always be so. Structure of the soil can be altered by good husbandry – a well- structured soil will allow roots to develop and find moisture and nutrients from depth so the plant is not limited by drought or other weather extremes. The structure can be improved by the weather – the dry conditions this summer cracked the soil to depth and this will allow plant roots to penetrate more in future years or deeper cultivations. Even when the rain comes and the cracks close the soil layers will still be more fractured allowing the roots to go deeper. Wheat plant roots can easily grow to be 1.5 metres deep and oilseed plants 2 metres or more. The same will apply to garden plants. ...

15 October, 2018

Farm Notes

The Villager

One of the subjects that I received quite a lot of feedback about was the reference to rainfall in the July issue so here is the latest update. I mentioned previously that the annual rainfall in Bentworth averages about 975 mm and the current figure to 30th September is 877 mm so not a lot lower and far above a Jan to Dec year of only 729 mm in 2011. The ...

27 September, 2018

Farm Diary

The Villager

The wonderful mostly dry and sunny weather is continuing which means that it is ideal for insects, birds and in fact most of the natural world locally. Pleasingly the one species that will not thrive in these conditions are slugs – I have never worked out what good a slug does so do not miss them this year. The ground is harder than usual so wearing surfaces on cultivators are disappearing quickly. We now use tungsten faced points which do last longer but of course are double the price of standard items. The flints in the soil in this area tend to cut into the steel and tungsten so that nothing lasts long – in the days when we ploughed a set of plough points might need replacing after 2 days work. The term “Hampshire diamond” obviously refers to the hardness of our local stone – a shame it is not worth as much as jewellery diamonds. When I worked in the Cotswolds the soil and stone was much softer and a set of points could last a whole season or more. ...

30 July, 2018

Farm News

The Villager

When I wrote for the Villager 4 weeks ago my weather request was for long days of bright light and ½ inch of rain every week and certainly no extremely hot temperatures or strong sunlight. My hopes of a weather pattern to maximise the yield potential of the crops have been disappointed in a big way. Never mind the crops – the weather has been stunning with great warmth. Will the high temperatures and lack of rainfall affect the crop yields? Yes but how much remains to be seen. The first fields have been cut in the area but it is too early to draw any conclusions on yield trends yet but it is true that usually the price per tonne rises if the harvest is smaller so there is a compensating effect. ...

13 March, 2018

Farm Diary

The Villager

In the last few days we have had the snow and freezing winds of late February / early March. It is on such occasions that pheasant shoots are particularly helpful to the indigenous bird and mammal life. The extreme weather and frozen ground makes foraging for seeds impossible and without the shoots many songbirds would die within a few days without food. ...