Time to shut up shop: After many false dawns promising spells of better weather, many areas of the country remain far too wet to even consider planting in the next while. Now that we are in December it would take three weeks to get land soaked so it may be sensible to park up the machinery. But there may be people who can get a little done.

December is traditionally regarded as a dormant month that brings very little in the way of growth, with crops normally taking over six weeks to emerge. That is a long time to have to protect crops when there is little or no growth in a hungry time for nature.