My new regime of posting a little, more often is working so far.
As said before March was a horrible month and April started off in the same vein, but improved slowly. Fertiliser was the first order of the day and all crops had what would normally be two applications, applied as one. The OSR received 375kg/ha of ammonium nitrate and the cereals 300kg/ha. Fortunately, after application, the weather was fairly settled. Travelling initially was a problem as the land in general was too wet but the crops needed feeding. Even now there are still a few areas where the tractor cannot travel. As is normal in this region, when the rain stopped the wind started and there were many days when no spraying or fertilising could be done because of high winds.
Towards the end of the month the land for spring barley appeared to be drying out sufficiently to sow. Again, there were a few wet spots and only the top couple of inches were dry enough. However it was sown and rolled the following day and is just emerging eight days later. The soil temperature is now a tropical 9°C.
Wheat and Winter barley have received their 'T0' fungicide/trace element spray. Until recently, cereals were given a 'T1', 'T2' and most people also applied a 'T3' spray. Now the varieties are so susceptible to disease they require an additional spray whitch had to be named 'T0'. I'm sure that the weaknesses in cereals requiring fungicides has nothing to do with the fact that the seed breeding companies are now owned by the chemical companies.
Wildlife seeems to have survived the winter fairly well, but the bad weather has put breeding back by about 3 weeks. The Barn Owls currently have six eggs the first of which is due to hatch on May 14th, the Kestrels have three eggs, but the hen does not start incubating until she has a clutch of five or six. t was thought the Jackdaws had driven the Kestrels away, but they arrived in the nestbox one morning and within one hour had laid an egg. Many other small birds such as Sparrows, Wagtails, Wrens and Tits are only now settling down to nest. Swallows arrived 5 days later than normal on 21st April and moved straight into the buildings used for nesting previously, but no eggs as yet. I was not aware until recently that we had Water Shrews on the farm, as they seem to be a favourite with the Barn Owls. There must be a good population as they are catching at least one per day.
Part of the small field which is divided into 'Meadow', 'Flowers' and 'Bird Seed' has been ploughed out and worked down ready to sow a 'BumbleBird' mix which will hopefully keep everyone happy.