The robust herbicide application made during December has done a fantastic job of clearing a broad range of weed species. An unexpected inclusion in that list was charlock. With very low numbers, only made prominent by the prostrate growth habit of our chosen varieties, a wait and see approach was decided with our agronomist. A mottling of the charlock’s leaves was seen post the herbicide application having clearly received a ’headache’, which combined with some good frosts saw the skeletal remains of the charlock plant by mid-January. An excellent result, saving the cost of a follow up spray pass.
Our OSR acreage looks well setup for the spring, clean and with good plant populations, capped off by a healthy dose of cold weather.
What has been most noticeable this month is the natural dieback of our cover crop’s, aided by the cold weather at the beginning and end of the month. This has been useful in many ways, by opening the canopy to ensure good coverage and revealing our permanent tramlines that were temporarily camouflaged. With spraying off underway, such has been the wet winter, you go from being pleased with how the tractor is carrying, to hitting a soft spot and thoughts of where the recovery tow strap is located flashing through your mind. Thankfully those moments are few and far between thanks to having permanent tramlines which give us a head start each year.
A pleasing aspect to the use of cover crops is the over winter habitat it provides to farmland birds, the extent of which only becomes apparent as the noise of the tractor and incoming boom acts to flush them.
Wheat and Barley
Whilst mid-winter is a quiet time for these crops, the new year did see noticeable growth from our winter cereals and grassland for that matter, with a freshening up in appearance. This combined with some crisp sun and day length edging out by the end of the month, feels like we are turning the corner.