Monday 2nd August, 2010
More visitors to the field today, the BBC Countryfile Team, filming the operation from harvest through to frozen. Adam Henson came along, and the whole process was done in a very relaxed manner. It turned out to be a fairly busy day ensuring that everything was right, they took plenty of footage and we await the results, which will go out on 15th August.
Thursday 29th July, 2010
The end is well in sight, and it may be we have to pull up for the weekend and leave our last two fields for Monday. Disappointment does not begin to cover the views of these late crops. Even though it does not seem to get enough airtime in the news, we are in a drought. It is not just peas but all crops that are suffering. Next week will see the waterproofs out and a clean down of all the viners, ready for the over winter maintenance. On a side issue, is our Menorcan outpost still with us!?! Things have been very quiet lately.
Wednesday 28th July, 2010
Why have we got a picture of Sutton Bridge you ask. Well, pea viners are a bit like Formula One cars. A Formula One car will do so many laps, or hours running before it needs attention, the same applies to our harvesters. They have now been running 24hrs a day since June 20th, a lot of moving parts and it is inevitable that something will give up. Thankfully they are only minor items that do not stop us harvesting. So to save time we meet PMC at Sutton Bridge, about halfway. There have been occasions when a number of us gathered there to wait for the van. Sadly the Bridge Hotel is now closed so a pleasant pint is a thing of the past!
Tuesday 27th July, 2010
A customer and retailer visit today. It is good that they can find time to visit the field and enable us to disscuss our operation and issues, and at the same time a chance for us to understand their ideas going forward, be it by innovation, or putting messages out to the consumers about what goes into producing peas ready for the table.
A slightly slower day harvesting today to allow the TRs to move up slightly. Normal service will be resumed tomorrow when we shall push to the end, finishing early next week. The late crops are proving difficult to harvest in places, lack of moisture has meant a shorter plant and we are having to go very low to the ground. In one field yesterday we even had to "fetch" the crop to get it all. I am leaving some peas in the field, but having got a comment about soil in the load this morning, we cannot go any lower.
Sunday 25th July, 2010
Not a great shot, but you get the picture. Just when you thought it was safe to go home after another long day, there is a burst of flames next to the gateway of the next field you want to be in. Some idiot had set fire to a caravan, which was next to a pile of tree cuttings, 10 yards from our pea field and 20 yards from a nearly fit field of wheat! A call was made to Hugh, Pugh, Barney Magrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub. They were there quickly and soon had things under control. We do not seem to be able to have a season without the involvement of our local Fire Brigade. This week will see the bulk of our remaining crop cleared, with a bit left for next week.
Saturday 24th July, 2010
That's it, south of Boston complete and we are on the homeward straight. We are currently harvesting a very good crop of Kenobi at Frithville. We have a few more of these to do and then it is on to Oasis. 80% of the acres have been cleared, and we now begin to assess where we will end up against our budgeted tonnage. There is no doubt it will be down given the drought conditions we have experienced this year.
Wednesday 21st July, 2010
It has been pointed out that there has been no mention of our reliable haulier, Clayton-Lenton Transport. As I write this, Simon is on his way back from Somerset, having collected a lorry. He is near Stonehenge, and looking for something to sacrifice. Any ideas? CLT and their team have as ever, provided a very good service. Very professional, on time and usually an amusing indecent, sorry I meant incident, during the day. Before anyone comments, we were 30ft off the wires!
Tuesday 20th July, 2010
They say that there are two things in life that are certain, death and taxes! In the last few years two things are certain in vining peas, pressure and by-passing! Despite our best efforts, and boy did we make a huge effot last week we had to "jump" some crops that were getting too mature, and settle back down into crops at reasonable maturity levels. We have now moved back to near Boston and have a few days work before we go north of Boston for the final 800 acres. the end is fast approaching. There are a number of pea groups that operate in the area, and it is always a bit of a concern that the Boys get in the correct field. As you can see these fields were close, but thankfully everyone was harvesting the correct crop.
Sunday 18th July, 2010
I am not familiar with the flight of a hot air ballon, but I would think that it floats/flys in the sky based on the principal of pressure. If that is the case then we can soon put a viner to flight! The pressure is great, and it has not been a good 36hrs. Slow production coupled with peas continuing to move rapidly in most cases. At some point today we will have to make a jump and leave peas behind for combining. A right pain, for the Grower and in terms of getting them combined which always falls in the wheat harvest, which is obviously the priority for combines at that time.
Wednesday 14th July, 2010
As you can tell by the lack of recent posts, we have been extremly busy. A huge amount of acreage has been cleared in recent days. The "Pod Squad" are merrily harvesting away down at Moulton Eaugate. We will be down there for a day before moving off further west. Final destination to be decided once tomorrows results are in. A good job Gareth got the domestic duties done on Sunday.
Sunday 11th July, 2010
Well it really is a race against time now! Even though it is cooler today the peas are still feeling the effect of the high temperatures of the last two days, and begining to gather pace as they head towards maturity. We are now well over halfway through the peas in the Kirton and Frampton area. Hopefully done late afternoon Monday, then Sutterton and Fosdyke, before heading down into Holbeach Marsh for a couple of hundred acres. Juan Day Atatime arrived for his job interview today, and as you can see took part in some driver training. It was good for us all to see him again after two years. His relationship with San Miguel does not seem to have done him any harm.
Saturday 10th July, 2010
It's still hot, peas are ready and we continue to crack on. Now well into our Novella at Frampton, which we will hopefully complete by the middle of next week in Holbeach Marsh where the last of the Novella is. Weather allowing! Finally met Mark, our other mechanic. Mark has been with us just a few years, but has quickly learnt a lot about the machines and is not adverse to a late night if required. The picture below is also of Mark, so get your thinking caps on and captions please.
Friday 9th July, 2010
A visit by BBC Radio Lincolnshire this morning to check on our progress with the pea harvest. The interviewer, David, openly admitted he was not a great fan of peas, but once he had tasted some fresh peas, and had it suggested that they only want cooking slighty, and not boiled dry, we may have converted him! We were actually in the last few breeds of the field when he arrived, so once that was over it was a dash to Frampton where we shall now be for a few "hot" days.
Thursday 8th July, 2010
Things still going to plan as the temperatures rise, again. The machines are just about to go into the last field north of Boston, so we should leaving for Wyberton just as the school run begins tomorrow morning. Joy! There will be a visit in the morning from BBC Radio Lincolnshire, I just hope it does not coincide with a field move.
Wednesday 7th July, 2010
We continue harvesting in the Friskney area. I think there will be a dash to Boston for one field, and then a couple of fields at Frieston and Wrangle, before we finally swipe up the remaining fields north of Boston on Thursday evening/Friday morning before settling in south of Boston for a few days. There is a very busy period coming up over the next week or so,and I now feel that we may have reached the pitch where there is no looking back. The later crops are now begining to look quite ill in places and no amount of rain will help them now. It's a dust bowl out there! What can I say about our haulier CLT. Well he does manage to come up trumps when we get a last minute load, as happened today., as wellas providing a fast and efficient service.
Monday 5th July, 2010
Well, the nerve went! Despite the TRs only creeping slightly, but with heat and wind in abundance we started last night nibbling away at some Novella that were coming out of order, before bedding into some Jaguar at Midville. The TRs are not moving as you would expect, there is no pattern, however you cannot but feel that there is a bulge on the way. So we press on. Gordon has been with Fen Peas for many years now, and has a treemendous knowledge of the machines. He continues to come along for two days a week, and as one passed Chairman has said on more than one occasion, when a machine has broken down and you are tearing your hair out, when Gordon pitches up in the field you feel much calmer and that normal service will be resumed shortly.
Friday 2nd July, 2010
Another warm day, and no harvesting. Some of the peas on sample are now reading in the eighties, so we keep a watchful eye, ready to pounce. It may be we "fire up the Quattro" at the end of the weekend. We will see. This is what we are up against, plants dying under the heat and lack of moisture, above, whilst the peas in the pod are not quite fit to harvest, below. There are now huge cracks appearing in the fields, and even if it rained now I am not sure it will be in time to help the plants. Looking on the bright side, we will not be on the road as the County gets invaded for The Waddington Air Show!
Thursday 1st July, 2010
This is getting very tedious, the peas continue to move just a couple of points a day. This is frustrating for me, "The Pod Squad" and our customers. We should be very busy now, but we can't control Mother nature. Meet more members of the "Squad". Mark and Ady, who between have countless years experience in the peas and I would say have seen it all over the years. Below are Gareth and Adrian. Again Adrian has many years of pea harvesting under his belt, whilst Gareth has now done five, I think. Gareth still does have a phobia about Langrick Bridge!
Wednesday 30th June, 2010
The end of the month, and the end of a rather frantic period of harvest. Despite the heat, field moves and a fire at one of the factories, we managed to harvest the Twinkle and Style all within the correct TR bands. The last load going in was 142 TR. Close! Another hour or so and it would have been over the top. The next block, Jaguar, was drilled in the spring after a period of rain, so we have a few days rest before the next push begins. Even though it has been very warm TRs are moving slowly, it is almost as if the plant has gone dormant. However we are ready as soon as things pick up. The heat is also having an effect on some of the later peas, which are, in a few places showing signs of ill health. Everyone keeps asking what kind of season is it going to be, well, it's still too early to call a lot can happen yet. Meet Paul and Richard who drive the newest of the viners. Heaps of experience between them, but are currently as frustrated as me that we have come to a halt. I note the application for the Manager's position from Juan Day Atatime, whose CV reads very well. Looks as though he is just what we are looking for. The interview will take place in the next week or when he makes a short trip to blighty!
Monday 28th June, 2010
I have now decided that, unlike the 22 men in South Africa, I have a team with skill and ability, who know their place in the field of play and who are able to score! So please begin to meet the team, first up Doug and Jamie who have been in the peas for a few years now. For those customers looking, you now have a face to a name. The two other cart drivers below are Henry and Matthew. Both new to the field team this year but proving reliable in defence! As we go through the team I will be looking for a foreign manager and will be able to accept non-doms who apply!
Saturday 26th June, 2010
A short road trip from Lincoln Heath to Miningsby over night to take out 60 acres of Twinkle that has come out of sequence. Not an issue, but this sort of thing can be later when you are under more pressure. Another cracking sunrise this morning, and as the day has gone on, hotter and hotter, currently 27 degrees C outside. I wonder if that's hotter than the Med today?
Friday 25th June, 2010
It will not have escaped your notice that we are in a rather warm spell! It's not just that the daytime temperatures which are high, but being so warm at night and with a greater number of daylight hours at this time of year, the two combined can shorten the maturity by a quarter to half a day. When you get a continuous run of days like this you are soon behind. Anyway, we are still making good progress, and this is what it's looking like at 4am each morning at the moment.
Thursday 24th June, 2010
The absence of any posts is as it suggests, we have been busy. Since starting on Sunday we have not stopped, and do not look like we will for some time. A slightly cooler and overcast day today will help, but we have returned to Style at Sleaford before we move up onto Lincoln Heath tomorrow. It may be that we have a day trip out to the bottom of the Wolds to get a field over the weekend, but our main focus will be The Heath over the next few days. Apart from slight electrical issues, men and machines working in harmony!
Monday 21st June, 2010
The shortest night of the year last night, but as one of the men pointed out the shift was still 12 hours! Aside from an odd oil pipe the machines have started well in the early crops. Wilsford will soon be completed and then we will make a short visit to Dembelby before we bed down at Sleaford for a day or two. The factory also had a good start. When plant and machinery have not been used on a product for some time there is usually an issue, but none at present. If the rest of the season was like the last 24hrs we would be in clover.
Sunday 20th June, 2010
Chocks away! A fairly crisp start to the season, TRs a bit all over but it now seems to have settled into a pattern. The weather is forecast to warm up so I am hopeful of a reasonable weeks work. Too early to comment about yields will have a better idea in a day or two's time. One thing though, the operation has certainly moved the crows off.!
Saturday 19th June, 2010
The results are in. We go at dawn! Despite mother nature cooling things off, the peas are still moving about 3 points a day, and with 300 acres to do we shall dive in to 24 hour harvesting. A bit of a shame for the new guys as it would have been nice just to have got them used to things before the big push. It is trying to rain as I write this. No more please, as you can see the rain has done enough to establish the late crops now, so just sunshine and warmth! Similar to the weather experienced by our Mediterranean Branch!
Thursday 17th June, 2010
Almost there as you can see. Another 48-72 hours should do it! I think we will have a busy start, around 300 acres will need our attention, so a restful day or two before the campaign begins. Still not finding any major levels of aphids in other pea crops yet. Maybe the winter has helped us here, and managed to reduce numbers significantly. However I feel there could be a need to attack them next week, as they must surely multiply in the current weather we are having.
Wednesday 16th June, 2010
Meet Michael our sampler. He has had a busy start to the season, and after three days of sampling and the final calibration of the new Dodman, we have enough information to plan our start. This will take place post the England match on Friday, over the weekend. The peas are moving steadily, but with the much cooler nights not as fast as you would think. Anyway avoid the A17 on friday as we begin to move the machines!
Tuesday 15th June, 2010
With the pea crop you do get some heart-stopping moments. The last thing you need are problems! So on entering the field above earlier today, I thought what the hell have we here! On further inspection the hidden side of the pods are not marked at all, so classic hail stone damage. We will be sampling these peas next week so this damage should not have a lasting impact, and yes, the jury is still out! Do we start this side of the weekend? We will see!
Monday 14th June, 2010
Today the Boys were in the yard making the final preparations before we set off around the County of Lincolnshire within the next week. Will it be before or after the weekend, who knows! The jury is still out but we are sampling and the peas are moving about 2 to 3 points a day, but I expect this to build as the week goes on. You will see from the photograph that we are continuing to get a lot of "rogue" plants in our crops of peas. Whilst this will not dramatically affect the yield something does need to be done to clean up some of these varieties, before the contamination worsens. The rogues present, will mature after the bulk of the field, but if it was the other way round it would not be good.
Wednesday 9th June, 2010
This is an odd one! Drilled on the same day, into very good moisture, it had rained the day before, and 15% or thereabouts, have emerged at a later date. The picture suggests that the plant on the right has had to grow around some obstacles. However the seedbeed can be described as fine and drilling conditions superb. Any ideas? Answers on a postcard, or e-mail please!
Sunday 6th June, 2010
At last there were some storms passing through last night, and this time there was sufficient rain to soak down to where the seedlings are sitting. You can see from the picture just what patchy emergence you can have during a dry time. It looks as though it will be an unsettled week, which will be fine, as long as there is warm and sunny weather to follow. Never happy!?!?
Friday 4th June, 2010
Out with the old and in with the new. The Tenderometer (TR) machine that we have now been using for quite some years had begun to prove unreliable last year. It was built in 1959 after all! So we have bitten the bullet and invested in a new Dodman electronic TR machine. It is a machine that is widely used in the industry at the factories, and needless to say is expensive. However so were the repairs on the old one. It is easier to calibrate, and does all of the calculations for you. We shall see how it goes, and if it remains in service as long as the last one, it will be money well spent.
Wednesday 2nd June, 2010
Desperate times require desperate measures! The BBC at the weekend reported that we had below average rainfall for the month of May, and it does show. It is most unusual for us to irrigate peas, but if we don't in this case there will be no crop. We are putting about an inch of water on and that will be enough to get things going. The promised rain of the weekend turned into the square route of ...... all! At the front end of the crop pods are now beginging to fill, so we shall continue our preperations for later in the month. I do not want to be the voice of doom, but like the oilseed rape, the peas have been in flower for a long time. Not a good sign generally.
Tuesday 1st June, 2010
Well, not a great deal of rain. It may have seemed to be falling hard at times, but we got just a few mm, and it soaked in about 1cm. The wind of yesterday has now blown it away! I had a ride out today to look at a Herriau drill working. Given that it is now June, I was very impressed with its positive seed placement at a depth of close to 4 inches. You can see from the pictures that the drill has "trapped" the seed in the ground, rather than put it on a firm base with loose soil above it. It has to be said that if you have such a drill in your pea drilling system, then the grower does need to be on the ball with conserving moisture, and paying close attention to detail when pre working the land. As was the case here.
Saturday 29th May, 2010
As I write this there is the unfamiliar sound of rain against the windows. Boy do we need it! Not just for the peas, but all crops on the farm. There was an air of confidence about rain this weekend because it is The Carrington Steam Engine Rally, and it is very rare that it does not rain on this occasion. Let's hope there is a reasonable amount today, enough to penetrate down to some of the last sown seeds that have yet to germinate. Most early crops are looking, as the picture suggestes, magnificent. Slightly off green, due to lack of moisture, but the best we have seen for a number of years. The jury is still out on some of the later ones.
Monday 24th May, 2010
A new arrival! The replacement for our 2004 979-AT arrived today, a 979-CT. There have been a few changes since we purchsaed a 979-CT in 2008, but in the main they are identical. It is a huge cost buying machinery that we use for a few weeks of the year, but we have little choice. The fact that we put 1000 to 1500 acres through each machine per year, we have to update them on a regular basis. The cost has increased a lot in recent years, but is really a factor of the rising cost of materials, and currency fluctuations. Anyway, we have it and we will work it. The boys will go to PMC in Fakenham next month for some operator training so they can hit the ground running.
Sunday 23rd May, 2010
Amazing what a bit of warm weather can do! Having just had flower at the begining of last week, we are now white over with flower, and pod pushing out as well. The temperatures are due to return to normal as the week goes on, so I still think that we will be around the 20th June for the start of our 2010 trip around Lincolnshire. Dare I say it, but we could do with a much needed drink, some of the later drilled peas will struggle to get established.
Friday 21st May, 2010
The variety trial that was drilled in April is now coming on. There has been no rain to speak of since these peas went in, therefore the quality of the land, the ability of the drill, and its operators of course, have all come good to produce what appears to be a promising trial plot. Let's hope that in a few years' time a new variety will emerge from here, at a reasonable cost of course!
Thursday 20th May, 2010
Today saw the last of the peas being drilled for the 2010 crop. The last fields were fairly dry and will have to work hard to establish. Peas drilled on monday have now got good chits on and could be up next week, if these high temperatures hold. A close eye must now be kept on all crops for moth and aphid infestation. Flowers will also being to show more readily, which will give a good indication as to where the pressure points will be at harvest.
Tuesday 18th May, 2010
At this time of year you would expect a lot of dust behind the drills, but not this year. It is by no means wet but conditions are better for May than in the previous 4 years. Having looked further down the drilling programme crops, where affected, are begining to grow away from weevil damage, but the dreaded pigeon is still a nusiance. It looks like all the peas will be in by thursday evening, so post then, if you are tunned in in Menorca, an inch of rain will be most welcome!
Monday 17th May, 2010
At last FLOWER! The warmer weather has brought the early peas on well, so given this I would hope that we will be harvesting by the Lincolnshire Show. A little later than normal, but was is normal weather now. At this time of year most emerged crops look similar and it gets a bit disconcerting, now they are coming into flower the crops begin to show their potentail different harvest dates. Thank God!
Tuesday 11th May, 2010
A trip round the earlies today to check on their progress, and see how they have faired in the cold weather of recent days. The answer is pretty well! If it had been warmer this week we would have seen flowers on the plants. The buds are nicely tucked up away from the cold, and given the potential rise in the temperatures over the weekend we should see flower next week. The rain of last saturday has led to good drilling conditions for this time of the year. Our area south of Boston is now complete, and we are starting tomorrow in the Sibsey and Wrangle area. If all goes to plan drilling will be completed next week. A week later than usual, which will lead to a later start, probably around the 20th June.
Saturday 8th May, 2010
Just a brief break during the much welcomed rain of today. It has rained most of the day, but not so much as to stop us drilling completely. We are finishing off some Serge at Swineshead, and it has gone well. It is still a concern that the temperatures are below the seasonal averages. Next week I will have an opportunity to look at all the early peas to give me a better insight into when we may start harvesting next month. Not as early as we have in previous years I suspect!
Tuesday 4th May, 2010
Down in London Town today at DEFRA discussing ways in which we might encourage the consumption, and therefore increase the production of UK fruit and vegetables. DEFRA's offices are just up from the Houses of Commons, and boy was it quiet. All except the media village which, as you can see, was being constructed ready for the results of the General Election on friday. This DEFRA work has been going on for some time, so whoever takes up the post of Minister let's hope he will allow this work to continue, rather than have his/her (have to be PC) own agenda.
Sunday 2nd May, 2010
Typical Bank Holiday, cold, damp and bleak. A bit like The Labour Party's election campaign! A field of Novella in the Marsh, showing slight Weevil damage, but last week's warm spell has encouraged the crop to grow out of it. Generally the field looks well. There was a slight concern that when this field was being drilled there was a problem with the drill. This has now become evident, and we have a couple of Skylark patches. The local wildlife has benefitted from the problem. Last week saw us complete the drilling in the Bourne and West Pinchbeck areas. We now sit and wait until wednesday before we fire up the Quattro again, and continue drilling in the Bicker, Donington and Wigtoft areas. This should give us some breathing space at harvest time.
Tuesday 27th April, 2010
It was quite warm today, and meant to be even warmer tomorrow, but then there appears to be a sting in the tail at the weekend with temperatures potentially below 10C. Growing crops, like humans, do not like these sorts of variations. In a nutshell peas want to go into moisture and then just have the sun on their backs. It's as simple as that, but never works out how you want it to. A quick trip round reveals that all peas drilled north of Boston are clearly visible in rows, while those south are just emerging. Dare I say it Andrew, a drop of rain would not go amiss!
Monday 26th April, 2010
It's warm, and it's getting warmer! This may be short lived as the forecasters say that it will get much colder at the weekend, and potential showers. Any rain will be welcome, we are now drilling at 3 inches plus to find moisture. The weather patterns at this time of year seem to have been the same for the last three years. Getting very dry, and then we seem to pay for it big time! Our progress with drilling is still steady, about 53% in at the weekend. The delay caused by the long winter will never be caught up and I expect that the drills will still be busy beyond the middle of May.
Thursday 22nd April, 2010
Still drilling into moisture, but only just! The weather patterns of the last few years do seem to be remarkably similar, by the time you get to late April things are drying out. The main difference this year is that because of the cold winter, the frost action on the land means that it is working easier than in previous years. This reduces compaction, and we use less diesel. It will be May next week, so as well as keeping focused on drilling, we will have to begin to turn our attention to the harvest, and ensure that we have all the kit ready for a eight week trek across Lincolnshire!
Wednesday 14th April, 2010
Another day, another drill. This time a plot drill. It does not look like much but this bit of kit allows small plots to be drilled, to trial new varieties. By starting off with small plots, and then assesing the produce, varieties that do not perform can soon be quickly discarded. Whilst those will potential are grown on bigger plot sizes the following year. There are various characteristics that are looked for, yield, disease resistance, taste, colour, size, ease of harvest, being just a few. It may be that one of those varieties being drilled here today will be a commercial sucess in the future. Conditions for our crops still remain good. Seedbeds are easy to work, plenty of moisture and sun overhead. Could do with being a bit warmer! Got to have a moan somewhere! No doubt the temperature is good in Menorca!
Tuesday 13th April, 2010
Full steam ahead! Looks like an uninterrupted week so we are pressing on in the Frampton and Kirton area. Peas drilled last thursday now have over one inch chits on! That is quite significant growth for that number of days. The warm weekend did a lot to help. Broad beans in the garden seemed to be growing by the minute. Just emerging on friday night, and one and a half inches through by sunday evening! Even though it has turned a bit cooler once the peas start to grow, strike, they do seem to manage to put some growth on each day despite it cooling down slightly. Let us hope this spell of settled weather continues and makes life easier with the planning. If all goes according to plan it will be Sutterton, Fosdyke, Holbeach Marsh and beyond next week.
Sunday 11th April, 2010
Question. Which pea cost £10million? Answer, none in this picture, but a Mexican footballer named Javier Hernandez who has been signed by Manchester United and joins them on the 1st July this year! Javier's father was also a footballer in Mexico and was known as El Chicaro, "the pea", and his son has now been given the title of El Chicharito, "the little pea"! If the industry had enough money perhaps we could sponsor him!
Friday 2nd April, 2010
Another week goes by with little activity. Frustrating! This picture was taken on 4th April 2009 and shows what a fantastic spring we had. It got dry towards the end, but allowed us to move through our drilling programme at a steady pace, in good conditions. Some are saying that the seasons have reverted to what they were historically. I think they are right. I wonder what the global warming people have to say!
Monday 29th March, 2010
The first peas are begining to emerge on the light land. It would be helpful if the temperatures were able to rise to allow them to grow away from the pigeons, but looking at the forecast it looks like the wind is turning to the north and we are in for a wet and cold few days. This week has been frustrating with the rain showers making it difficult to plan drilling. It has just been the case of going where we can. The last two springs have been pretty good, if a bit dry, so it may be we are going to get a slightly more testing one this year. With price levels being where they are we have to make sure that the peas go in in good conditions, and make every one count.
Friday 19th March, 2010
Pressing on at a pace to try and beat the rain that is due in on friday night. We are now drilling at Blankney Estates on Lincoln Heath. You can see by the size of the drill we are not long getting a few acres covered here. The variety is Style supplied by Churchs of Bures. This is our third year with this variety, and it has performed well for us in the past so we have a larger area this year. It matures four days later than Twinkle which allows us to overlap our drilling. Spring did arrive late but at the end of this week we should have in the region of 800 acres in the ground. A good start in good conditions, with good seedbeds. The weather next week does not look promising!
Wednesday 17th March, 2010
As you can see we have got some good growth in a week, which shows that the soil is warming up. These are the very first drilled peas in the Grantham area, the variety is Twinkle. Having seen this it gives you confidence to continue drilling up on Lincoln Heath, which in theory is our next port of call when we get to harvesting. If temperatures remain where they are I would like to see that these have emerged in about a week to ten days time. Then it will be an ongoing battle to keep the pigeons off!
Tuesday 16th March, 2010
Not a great picture I grant you, but you can just make out that soil temperatures are nearing 10C! Spring might be here! The first peas drilled last week have broken the skin, and in some cases chitted. This is good news as we can now progress the drilling and start on Lincoln Heath. The weather looks fair for a few days, but we are expecting a wet day on friday which will no doubt bring us to a halt. It will be a shame because the wind of the last few days have dried the soil out well.
Thursday 11th March, 2010
We have dipped our toes into what is cold water! A start was made at Wilsford this week and, apart from the temperatures, it is going well as you would expect on the lighter land. We are not rushing about and will drill at a steady pace until the soil fully warms up. Nature does have a funny way of sorting itself out, in fact some older members of the farmimg community would say that the seasons have been just how it used to be! I do hope that the prolonged winter has made some dent in the stock of peas we have, given that fresh vegetables have not been in full and constant supply.
Wednesday 3rd March, 2010
I will just whisper the fact that we have not seen rain for two whole days now! We can now start to think about getting our drilling programme under way near Grantham. With the soil still being very cold there is little point in getting too excited yet. Peas, like all plants, require heat as well as moisture for them to grow. The storm that has just come across Europe will not have been of a benefit to pea crops already in the ground in southern Europe, and we will have to wait and see if it has done any lasting damage. As has been previously reported, the closure of the Birds Eye Lowestoft plant will be a huge blow to those growers in Suffolk and Norfolk. Whether it has implications to the rest of the industry it is too early to tell. Contract prices are down this year, so a microscopic examination of costs is taking place. Seed is a high proportion of our costs, and its value is greatly affected by currency fluctuations. Needless to say it's very expensive at the moment. Hopefully we will be under shortly and will endeavour to keep you, and our Menorcan friends up to date with our progress!