January has been a month for getting back into the swing of things after an enjoyable festive period. The main feature of the month has been our cover crops and our woolly friends who’ve joined us in managing them this year.
Our cover crops are now starting to draw to a close. We’ve finished spraying off all of our typical Radish mix cover crops and the hard frosts have put the final nail in the coffin. This year we’ve also been running a grazing trial to look at what impact livestock makes on our current system. Our next diary entry features the findings of our grazing trial in more detail but, in a nutshell, we’ve had good success so far and the sheep have enjoyed themselves too!
During January we have seen noticeable growth in our Wheat crops, making the cold weather closing the month very welcome. Our Agronomist David Morris suggests the plants look like they are heading into April not February!
Overall the Wheat crop is looking very clean, with only our late September sown Costello drilled at 320s/m2 displaying low levels of mildew. I found this surprising, considering Costello scores 8 on the recommended list for resistance but, with our mild Autumn and Winter so far, I’m not sure it has ever really stopped growing. That being said, I’m not overly concerned about it. Costello remains our main variety and the rest of the crop around the farm is showing no symptoms.
We started the year with a stock of strong OSR plants which was just as well, given that we weren’t the only ones admiring the crop. The pigeon mob returned briefly but, considering we had achieved good ground cover from to corner to corner, I wasn’t too worried. Nevertheless, they were swiftly evicted.
At the start of January, I applied Fox to a few of our fields to control Charlock. Done ahead of a frost, it has done its job, reinforcing the effect of the late November Astrokerb. The result is a very tidy looking crop as we head into February.
No this isn’t a ‘new year new me’ mantra – our January really has just been that dry! This month we’ve received 20mm total rainfall which fell well short of our 53mm 20-year average. With our soils still in deficit, we hope to see the books balanced ahead of spring, although time is fast running out!