Over the last week, we have cut the silage ground, and in perfect conditions got the important flag leaf spray on the wheat and the final application on the winter barley, though it took a while. Part of the residue of the wet spring has been deep furrows in the tramlines, which has left ruts and bumpy ground especially on some vulnerable corners.

Such ground conditions can wreck machinery, particularly a fully-extended sprayer. In the event, with careful driving there was no damage whatsoever and the work got done. While I hear quite a few saying we could do with some rain, I am not so sure.

The northeasterly winds have kept conditions reasonably cool, so I would imagine that total moisture loss from plant transpiration and evaporation is less than might be expected from a sunny dry spell at this time of the year. I would be interested to see some hard facts.

The crop most vulnerable to this dry spell would normally be the late sown beans, but so far it seems that the undisturbed untilled land that was direct drilled is holding the moisture well. The crop itself is visibly growing by the day, and is now at least on a par with the area that was ploughed and fully tilled conventionally.

It is of course the development of direct drilling technology that has contributed to the emergence of permanent tillage on large farms in Argentina rather than having to go back to grass after four or five years under the plough.

Meanwhile, following our reactor herd test, I have received all the rules and instructions from the Department of Agriculture as regards disposal and compensation (or rather the lack of it). But at least we are over the annual herd test and we can continue to buy as normal, but as I mentioned last week, we must sell only to the factory.

Side-by-side with our herd test, we had a complication with a card not matching a beast we had on the place for quite a while. We informed our local DVO and over the course of just one phone call, they were able to trace the various movements of the other animal that matched the card that we had by mistake been given several months ago. I hope that the new genotype arrangement announced this week will be as effective and easy to use in guiding our purchasing decisions for dairy beef calves.

I was sorry to learn of the deaths of two long term IFA stalwarts Pat Bobbett from Co Meath, chairman of the Meath executive and Tom Llewellyn, a unique figure who held a number of senior positions on the staff of the organisation. May they both rest in peace.