The year has continued on it's cooler than average trend, but May and June have also been much drier than average leading to some drought stress in crops and grass in certain places locally.
Wheat is making up lost ground and is currently flowering. A 'T2' (Flag leaf) spray was applied about 2 weeks ago and a 'T3' (Ear spray) will be applied in about 7 days time. The yield prospects look better than a month ago but I think at best they will be 'average'.
Winter barley is slowly changing colour from green to gold and depending on the weather over the next month, may be ready to harvest in the first half of August. Yields again are expected to be depressed.
Oilseed rape (Canola) has finished flowering and the pod set looks quite promising. Again, harvest will be much later than normal.
Spring barley appears to be doing very well with almost no disease and good growth. As with winter barley, sunshine quantity is directly linked to yield.
Wildlife, particularly birds are enjoying the better weather and great quantity of foods available. The first broods of House Sparrows, Wagtails, Swallows, Owls and Woodpeckers (to name only a few) have left the nest and are currently still being fed by parents around the farm buildings. We are still putting a limited amount of supplementary food out for the birds and they appreciate it.
The culling of badgers has been in the news with arguments from pro and anti 'cullers'. I am not affected by the cull, but can confirm the population has exploded in recent years and it has had an effect on the other wildlife on the farm. Going back 20 years or so, we had one sett on the farm and I'd estimate about half a dozen badgers. Now we have 5 setts and all much larger than the original. I have, on several, occasions seen badgers wrestling with a hedgehog until it gives up, following a ewe about to give birth or finding a pheasant's nest with around a dozen eggs. We have a busy main road running through part of the farm and this accounts for the deaths of many badgers annually - without this reduction in numbers we would be overrun. If the scenario is similar in the dairying parts of the UK and most badgers carry TB then I can understand why a reduction in numbers is necessary. Foxes can be killed if the become too numerous and a predator of lambs, chickens etc., so why not badgers whose protected status has led to an imbalance.
Some drainage work has been carried out through wet parts of fields which were a problem last year. The drains here are over 100 years old and some have collapsed, some are blocked by roots and some have just silted up. Most are approaching the end of their life, but full scale replacement would be extremely expensive.
I had an interview with a TV crew from Greece about the effects of Nicotinoids insects and the effects on crops due to their banning by the EU, possibly because of my scribblings here.
|Interview for Greek TV||Male Woodpecker on peanut feeder.||Spraying Spring Barley with the Royal Border Bridge in background.||Draining a wet part of a field to an existing good drain.|