As the new year rolled round, I had hoped the weather would also make a turn for the better. And it did, for a short time, with the first couple of dry consecutive days on the farm since September landing between Christmas and the new year.
A welcome break from the relentless weather front that’s made itself at home in recent months, I was optimistic that things may start improving. Since September, we’ve received a phenomenal amount of rain on a farm that is typically subject to the ‘Peopleton Umbrella’. Wheat, drilled early in the season to establish in time for our annual German visitors, has done remarkably well despite almost a constant downpour since it was drilled.
Testament to the benefits of preserving soil structure, the combination of tilled and untilled strips allows the soil to restructure naturally whilst still providing a nursery seedbed for quick, even establishment. In wet weather the untilled, well structured soil allows water to freely drain away from the seed helping to keep the seedling healthy and in optimum condition.
This support system created by the Mzuri strip tillage technique has nurtured the young crop and given it a good start despite the less than perfect conditions.
Unfortunately, not all of our Wheat got planted before Christmas with significant rainfall taking conditions beyond a threshold, I was comfortable with. I’m sure we could have mauled the crop in, but to what effect? We haven’t spent the best part of the last decade establishing healthy soils to wreak havoc in a single season to save my pride!
My only wish is that I had put more Wheat in earlier in the season, but then, hindsight is a wonderful thing and I’m confident that like previous years, we can achieve profitable, consistent spring crops with our Mzuri strip till system.