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.