The winter barley has a washed out, yellow look after recent heavy rain. The pools have reappeared in places where I hoped I wouldn’t see them for the rest of the season and I am anxiously waiting for the oats and wheat sown at the end of the dry spell on 8 February to appear. At this stage, I have no idea if we will get a reasonable germination of the crops or whether some of the seed has rotted in the ground.

Coupled with the incessant rain, the crows are fully active. We are shooting as often as we can but as the days get longer, it’s more difficult to be as vigilant as we would like. We will soon see if they have done real damage. There is no prospect of getting the beans in early this year – my normal aim is St Patrick’s Day, 17 March, but this has varied right up to 30 April which was then followed by the long, hot, dry summer and a halving of the yield.