We are now dithering in trying to decide whether we attempt to sow the gluten free oats or not.

There has been some wheat sown in the area over the last week or so and conditions were surprisingly good, but at this time of the year as it struggles to emerge, wheat is attractive to crows. There are few things as demoralising as seeing germinated seeds dug out of the ground by aggressive crows.

It’s at times like this that we really miss effective seed dressings. We have very little wheat left to do – some headlands to be tidied up and a field where it rained a few hours before we were due to finish.

I wouldn’t expect the same problem with the gluten free oats, so we will continue to keep our options open. I have warned our normal supplier that we may need a few bags of spring barley, and he simply said he had never received so many orders for spring barley in advance.


Meanwhile, we are taking the chance offered by the few dry days to get slug pellets out on the wheat sown after the oilseed rape, with a warning to our quad-equipped contractor to avoid any wet patches. He has already had to be rescued after getting his quad hopelessly stuck in a field a few miles away.


The cattle are still mopping up the last of the heavy covers and doing surprisingly little damage, but they are coming in at night for a fill of silage.

On the slurry agitation points, we are continuing to insert the new covers. It’s an unexpectedly tedious job, requiring a lot of cutting and welding of individual pieces and bolts, but they are inside and over the actual tanks – safety of both man and beast is too important to be compromised.

Incidentally, many thanks to those who made contact to recommend that we revisit the decision not to put them outside.

Part of the suggestion was to take account of the dangers when agitating, but the sheds are particularly open with a wide, unroofed central passage so, after all this time, I would be hopeful that poisonous gases would not be a problem.