Thursday 29th May, 2008
This little beauty is owned by someone who produces oil. They would need to the fuel tank holds 20000 litres. The mind boggles 20000 pounds to fill up. Makes the pea viners look cheap!
Wednesday 28th May, 2008
A bit of rest and relaxation this week. I don't think the owner of this boat is involoved in agriculture! When you do come on holiday it is amazing that you can still live like a king despite the problems around the globe with the food supply chain!
Thursday 22nd May, 2008
Today saw the delivery of the new harvester for the 2008 season. It is a PMC 979-CT, built in Fakenham, Norfolk, by PMC Harvesters (formally FMC Harvesters). We have a long history with this company, and this will be the twenty-second harvester that we will have operated. There are many subtle differences between the CT and AT model, but from the outside the cab is what catches the eye and will no doubt improve driver comfort.
I also had a visit from one of our customers today and we drove around the early Twinkle pea crops in the Sleaford area. They are all well in flower, and with the exception of two fields look very well. The two weaker fields are still quite good though. Costs are extremely important in any business, but seem to form a larger part of the conversation than they used to, in particular energy costs! Fuel prices continue to be in the news and currently are above 60 pence per litre (red diesel). Every 1 pence rise per litre, from this point, will see our fuel costs increase by around 40 pence per acre. Frightening! Whilst fuel continues to rise, food will have to follow.
Monday 19th May, 2008
As you can see the early peas are now well in flower and look well. A bit of a worry that the night time temperatures are going to be so low this week, the last thing we want now are frosts as this can make the trusses abort and severly deplete the yield of the crop. All the peas in the Sleaford area are in flower, and there is flower begining to show on the Heath. Which is good as this indicates crops will follow on. Peas at Tattershall have yet to show any signs of flower.
Again food appears on the front pages of the papers today. When will politicians learn that at some point they do not need to listen to experts who disseminate statistics, but talk to the people that actuatly grow the crops and see what solutions there are!
Thursday 15th May, 2008
The above picture shows some of the last peas bing drilled at Sibsey. Hard to think that 9 days prior to this it was too wet to drill! There is still a lot of growth in the crops on a daily basis, even though temperatures have cooled a little. Early peas are in flower and I will look at them tomorrow and now start to turn some attention to getting things ready for harvest. The "boys" have been to Fakenham to learn about the new machine today. They already have a lot of knowledge about the machinery, but with each new model comes slight variations which it is important to understand.
Over the next week I shall contact all the regulars to give them an update as to when I think we shall start so that they can get some holiday in before then. They are an extremly committed buch of people who I have come to rely on over the years, and they have never let me down, working endless days through the summer months.
Monday 12th May, 2008
Barring a natural disaster we shall finish drilling peas this week, currently 95% are drilled. In terms of how that compares with previous years it's about where we want to be. The warm and windy weather has had a two-fold effect on the peas. Rapid growth on those that are in, they are really motoring on now, and a rapid loss of moisture on land that has yet to be drilled.
It is incredible just how quickly the land has dried. Having said that it is still wet underneath in places, a legacy of last summers torrential rain.
Friday 9th May, 2008
A trip around the early peas, Sleaford and A15 towards Lincoln area, gave an insight as to what to expect at the begining of the season. The picture shows peas that should flower within the next seven days given the current spell of glorious weather. This is about the normal time, but one to two weeks later than the previous two years. Whilst it is hard to be specific, it looks like a harvesting start date of about 20th June. Pigeons still remain to be a thorn in our side and have caused considerable damage in some cases.
On mainland Europe, Portugal and Spain are now harvesting, with Italy and Hungary not too far away from starting. It is far too early to call how their crops will do. As far as drilling goes, we completed the South of Boston area on Wednesday and have now moved North of Boston. All being well we shall complete drilling all the peas by Wednesday next week. Peas, as well as other crops are now growing rapidly. Some pea crops are emerging within six days!
Friday 2nd May, 2008
After 24hrs of inactivity we have five drills going today, hitting it hard while the conditions are good, as you can see by the picture above. We are now drilling Serge in Boston West and will continue tomorrow and then reconvene on Tuesday morning. Having put it a considerable area today and tomorrow it would be prudent to hang fire for a couple of days to ensure that the crops do not all mature at once.
I was able to confirm the last piece of the jigsaw with regard to our harvesting labour for this year. For those of you in the know Adrian, Freddy, Richard, Harry, Michael, Glen, Paul, Gareth and James return from last year and many other years! Doug is also coming back after doing other things in 2007. Gordon expressed a wish that he did not want the commitment of last year, so Andy Barber is coming back to Fen Peas and making sure that the machines perform to their full capability. If we do get in the mire then Gordon will be on hand to help which I greatly appreciate. He has so much knowledge of these machines learnt over a period of 25 years