Thursday 28th April, 2011
The earlies are coming into flower! Never had flower in April before. Flower can easily be found, and if the crop continues to grow as it has done in the last seven days then it will be a very early season. It is quite incredible just how they have grown with little or no rain on them.
The picture below shows that when the pressure is on to find moisture then the pea plant can put out a good root system to find the moisture. Looking at the earlies today was a welcome change from the desert like conditions of drilling. Two quotes for you. On discussing the weather with one grower, he put on a positive spin on it by saying, "at least we are one day nearer to rain". While someone else described the conditions as "evil".
Wednesday 27th April, 2011
Operation Desert Storm continues in the Fens. It really is becoming a battle with no end in sight to the dry spell. The depth settings on the drills are nearly at maximum, and the pressure is begining to tell with a few minor breakdowns. Most of the peas are into moisture, but by no means all of them. I will have to have another look at the earlies to see how they are fairing. Some of them were lucky enough to get a storm at the weekend.
Tuesday 26th April, 2011
Still no sign of rain, but hope springs eternal. A Royal Wedding and The Boston May Fair will surely bring some! It is quite incredible just how the pea crops are hanging on. Jaguar sown in March with no rain does look well, a bit shorter than usual though.
Thursday 21st April, 2011
We continue drilling into moisture today. A number of drills going in the Wigtoft, Donington and Bicker area. A steady pace with the drill full of seed is making sure that the peas are in good moisture with some moisture above the seed as well. Next week will see us busy around Donington, Swineshead and Boston West. We are now 68% of the way through the programme, but it will more than likely get more difficult as time goes on. Have the Easter egg sales been any good in the Baleariacs?
Wednesday 20th April, 2011
It is no surprise that things are marching on. The earlies are at the enclosed bud stage, and I expect to find flowers easily late next week. Things can alter, but flowering this soon would mean an early start. Could be June 10th, but a few cool weeks could alter this.
Despite no rain to speak of since drilling these look very well. The plant is "fast" in the ground, which means there is an excellent root system. If it does carry on like this it will mean a short straw year, which can test the threshing of the pods.
Monday 18th April, 2011
As we approach the final stages of April, still no rain on the horizon. Whilst the peas continue to grow there will come a time when rainfall will be required to make sure that the plants fully develop.
We saw two years ago when rainfall was low at a particular time, one variety which normally produces 10 peas in a pod, produced only 7. A drop of 30%! Quite significant. So fingers crossed that nature will be kind and bring some rain, but not bucketfulls.
Tuesday 12th April, 2011
The first field drilled is romping on, slightly pale green, which means like all other crops could do with a drink. This week we have completed the drilling in the Moulton Eaugate, Whaplode Drove and Cowbit area, with next week seeing the drills going at Deeping, Twenty, Sutterton and Donington.
That will see most of the Markardo in before we start on the Serge. 58% of the crop is now drilled and emerging well, but rain is now more than required to brighten them all up. Worth noting that Asparagus and Tulip crops are running two weeks in front of where they are usually.
Monday 11th April, 2011
I am working on the assumption that now the schools have broken up it is bound to rain! It always does. This is about as perfect as it gets at this time of year, about 2.5 inches deep, with moisture above and below the seed. Those peas drilled a week ago will soon emerge and the temptation is to drill heavily, but my inclination is to just ease back slightly because everything is going in quite well. May not be saying the same in a couple of weeks time.
Friday 8th April, 2011
Warning shot across the bows! This is the challenge of things to come. Not going to be easy later, without some rain. Could be that we have to call in our Menorcan branch, with their experience of dry conditions.
Thursday 7th April, 2011
Note the date, and then the picture. I have been getting the feeling that we are slightly more advanced than usual, and Oilseed Rape in flower, in early April would tend to back this up.
We have now got 54% of the peas in, and move into the Moulton Eaugate, Whaplode Drove and Cowbit area next week drilling Markardo, just slowing things down a little to hopefully prevent problems at harvest. Yesterday the soil temperature touched 15 degrees C, which goes a long way to explaining the huge growth in crops seen in the last few days. It could be an early year, should we get Victor Chandler to open a book?
Tuesday 5th April, 2011
Not much to report really. It's still dry but we continue to drill into moisture. As time goes on though this could well become an issue. We are now in Holbeach March where conditions are good, I am told. Have not got down there myself yet but will tomorrow.
Another variety trial has gone in today, so we shall wait and see what it brings forward. It is now time to have a close inspection of growth rates in fields drilled in the last ten days, to see how hard we push the drilling. My gut instinct, is to slow down just a little, due to the moisture levels, and below average temperatures. Thrips have been found in some early crops, which are now getting some attention.