Wednesday 29th April, 2009
The promised rain for Lincolnshire is falling on Wales and the Midlands, and not here! However we are still finding moisture in most cases, next week I fear will prove to be difficult. We are now drilling Serge a variety that sometimes performs as its name suggests. Looking at the long range forecast it looks as though there is no meaningful rain for at least 10 days. If that is the case things will begin to get serious with the pea crop. Where we struggled for moisture last week, these peas now have one inch chits on which justifies the fact that in places we are drilling 5 to 6 inches deep.
Monday 27th April, 2009
Despite the picture showing a healthy crop, this crop and others will soon need some rain. It's been said that the weather patterns are akin to 2007. Not quite yet! Where we are drilling currently, in 2007 we were drilling another 2 inches deeper. Those crops that have got established have got good root structure and are continuing to draw moisture, but rain will be imperative to allow them to continue to grow and produce a good crop. Plant stands are good and there are only odd pockets of pigeon damage, so with sensible rain there is a good potential. Without rain things will not be so good.
Friday 24th April, 2009
Another busy week with the drill in the Spalding and Bourne area. One field in particular was difficult with regard to finding moisture at a sensible depth, but we got there. We are now some 72% through the programme which is about where we would expect to be at this time. There is still three weeks to go to complete drilling, so if there is no rain between now and then it will become very interesting trying to get the crops established. The picture above is of the earlies and you can just make out flower buds. If the weather stayed as it has been we would soon see flowers on the early crops. This would be earlier than usual, but the temperatures are due to drop so things may well return to normal.
Sunday 19th April, 2009
As you can see peas are growing well, and quickly at the moment. These are our first drilled crops which are growing well enough to keep the pigeons at bay currently! That said pigeons are getting at the recently drilled crops. Novella drilled a couple of weeks ago are begining to emerge, which is quick, given that we haven't had very high temperatures. The drills are now hard at work in Holbeach Marsh drilling into good conditions. As you approach the end of April people start to ask about the start date for harvesting. Looking at the early peas, and the fact that a lot of Oilseed Rape is in good flower, I think it will be the middle of June. However, anything can happen between now and then. The Assured Produce scheme is now causing problems. It started out as a means by which the Growers could be indepentently audited to prove that the food they were producing was safe, and complied with various crop protocols. Some years down the road it is become far too onerous and moved away from its original core values. Growers are now having to confirm and fulfill obligations that are covered by other auditing procedures. In these harsh economic times the last thing the Growers need is additional work and cost, which ultimately leads to an increase in crop production costs. Let's hope common sense can prevail!
Saturday 11th April, 2009
As we approach Easter and the 50% mark, things are drying quickly. Some rain is forecaster over this weekend, and it will be welcome. The land in the Kirton/Frampton/Algakirk area is now complete, and some land at Spalding has also been drilled. We shall take Easter as a natural break in our programme, and start with a vengeance Easter Tuesday. The seed eventually arrived from New Zealand, some four days late, and by Thursday evening it will be in the ground. The Labour Governmen's Fiscal Stimulus is having a great effect in the Spalding area I see. I have never known so many roads closed at once. Due to road closures today's mileage increased by 50 miles. All good for the environment!!
Saturday 4th April, 2009
A bit of a steady run this week.Whilst the rest of the country enjoyed some relatively high temperatures, here on the east coast we were stuck under cloud and fog. We are now 43% of the way through our drilling programme, and the next two weeks are always a critical time as you get a number of variieties that are all +8 days maturity. The land is really begining to dry in places, and we are already cultivating some land to conserve some moisture for later drillings. This week saw the retirement of Mike L'angellier from Pinguin Foods. He is pictured on the right above, pointing out to James Grant that there are times when you do have to be quiet! Mike has been in the industry a long time, made a lot of friends, given a lot of guidance, and when under pressure kept his cool. He will be missed on a day to day basis, but I' sure that he will be spotted from time to time in a pea field somewhere. All the best Mike, and thank you for your help and input over the years.