Wednesday 30th April, 2008
What a difference a few days of warm weather makes! Having struggled for a few weeks now, the peas on the silts north of Boston welcomed the sun and warmth of the weekend. In fairness all crops picked up over the weekend, and those crops that had problems, wind blow, look a lot better now. Peas drilled last week, up to and including Saturday have all got good chits on. It is the first time this spring that they are growing as you would expect. So that gives you confidence to press on with the drilling, and what happens, we get 12 mm of rain!
Diesel has now joined food as the headline makers these last few days, and rightly so. Diesel for the harvesters last year cost 39.9 p per litre, the same fuel this morning costs 57.9 p per litre. A whopping 45% increase. Fuel last year cost Fen Peas £14.68 per acre, simple maths gives you a current figure of £21.29 per acre, and rising! One headline yesterday suggested that the $200 a barrel price for Crude Oil could not be as far away as we think, so by the time harvesting starts in June who knows where the figure will be!
Friday 25th April, 2008
Another week of what seems to be a settled pattern with the weather this spring. Again despite temperatures being below normal, there is growth. Peas drilled in Cowbit Wash last Wednesday now have 2 inch chits on, so anything going into the ground is growing away quickly. There has been noticable growth in those that are emerged, but still well behind where they were at this time last year.
We should complete drilling in the Bourne/Deeping area in the morning (Saturday), and then start at Donnington on Monday. Having looked at most crops this week there are good crops and weak crops out there. If you were asked at the moment to give a prediction for 2008 it would be not a full crop, but there is still a long way to go.
The biggest worry is those peas drilled mid March on good silts. The rain that followed more than capped the land, but set the top 3 inches like concrete. They are coming, but slowly. Our local supermarket is now failing to deliver some very basic items on out internet order, flour, English streaky bacon and olive oil. On calling the supermarket the explaination they give is that they are being shorted by their suppliers. I wonder if that is just a convienient answer given all the publicity of late! It may be that some products are becoming so expensive in relative terms, that it is erroding into their margin.
Monday 21st April, 2008
Hopefully, if the weather forecast is to be believed, we are about to experience a rise in temperature. This is greatly needed, a lot of pea crops are only just sat there and need a boost. The picture above shows peas drilled on 19th February. They should be much further on than this. Last year peas drilled at the begining of February started to flower at the end of April. This is quite clearly not going to be the case this year.
The crops need to fill out and give some cover to stop pest damage, and also smother and weeds that are growing. Drilling went at a steady pace last week due to the low temperatures, but what did go in went in well in the Whaplode Drove, Moulton Eaugate area. This week will see us completing the Markado in the Spalding area and starting the Serge in the Bourne and Deeping areas. Food prices again hit the papers at the weekend, but more of that later in the week.
Thursday 17th April, 2008
I looked at all the early peas yesterday, from the Twinkle through to the Jaguar, which included Avola, Sherwood and Style. With the cooler weather this spring, crops are not as forward as they normally would be. However there are some problems already. You will see from the photo above that we have fields that have been damaged by wind blow, where the winds picked up soil and shaves the crop off at ground level.
Those peas affected have grown a new side shoot, as in the photo, but it will affect yield and the maturity date as well. So we will have to keep a close eye on these crops. I don't think we are at a re-drilling situation yet, but who knows. I know some of you look at the Blog, and you will notice that we have a Grower making regular comments. I know he has a qualification in computing, but the rest of you can comment as well!
Monday 14th April, 2008
You can see from the picture evidence that the peas are not too frightened to show their faces in the cold weather. We keep reading all the time about measuring our Carbon Footprint. If you look at the pea crop, it uses Carbon Dioxide in its growing habits, and once the crop has been cleared it leaves 50kg of actual nitrogen per hectare! That is a lot and would take an awful lot of energy to manufacture. We shall have to explore the carbon efficency of the pea crop.
Sunday 13th April, 2008
Despite the extremely low overnight temperatures this week, peas continue to grow. Those peas drilled early last week have now got 10-25mm chits on, so that gives us just cause to continue drilling. We are now in the depths of Holbeach Marsh drilling Geneva.
This time last year it was very dry and to get a satisfactory seedbed it took a lot of hard work, and expended a lot of fuel. This year with more moist conditions, it has made it a bit easier, and conditions are currently quite good. If only we could get higher temperatures all crops would grow quickly.