As I write, we are practically finished sowing the beans and are making good progress with the gluten free oats. We levelled and disced the beans field on a glorious Saturday afternoon, gave it another run on Sunday and went in on Monday with a direct drill.

The field seemed to be in perfect condition, but it is hard to tell how much moisture was in the ground underneath and if any damage was done after such a prolonged wet period.


But time is moving on and crops have to be sown if we are to have a harvest. For the oats again we used a disc to cut up the volunteer rape from last year with crumbler bars to get some levelling. It all ploughed down well and after an inspection of the sower for cleanliness, we went ahead with the one pass.

For both crops we used a high seeding rate – about 235kg/ha (15 stones) for the beans and 188kg/ha (12 stones) for the oats. It’s late for both crops but there was very little we could have done given the year.


For the beans, I have not seen satisfactory autumn establishment so we are stuck with spring sowing. It was towards the very end of April last year and we had a reasonable crop, so I am hopeful of a repeat this year.

On the oats side, the conventional view is that it should not be sown before 15 October or so. Exactly why, I am not sure, and I would be interested to hear how early sown oats crops fared.

On the cattle side, all the stores are now out day and night. The only cattle in the sheds are those that will finish over the next six weeks, so the workload has really reduced. We have divided the stores into rough groups of 30 and some of the paddocks have cut up more than I would like, but we have moved them on quickly and every fine day is making a huge difference to ground conditions.

We have now almost fully caught up on the spraying and fertilising of the autumn-sown wheat, barley and oilseed rape. The look of the cereal fields has definitely improved with the extra nutrients, but the oilseed rape still looks very thin, with large bare patches. We have spent a lot getting it established, so we have no option but to stick with what is inevitably going to be a mediocre crop – at best.

A side effect of the delayed turn out of cattle is the build up of grass intended for grazing. In another fortnight or so, quality will begin to deteriorate, so we are in a quandary in trying to decide how much extra ground to take out for silage or should we graze as much as possible, as quickly as possible, leaving extra stubble behind to encourage regrowth. I will get advice.