Our spring timetable is slipping by the day as the wet weather continues. We have snatched the odd few hours of grazing by the light stores but on the tillage side, we badly need a run of dry days.

Luckily we have the first split of nitrogen out on the most urgent crops – the oilseed rape and the winter barley. Both are showing the beneficial effects, with the pale yellow hungry appearance of the winter barley replaced by a much healthier green.

The oilseed rape has thickened up and while not near flowering, the buds are beginning to form and stem extension is underway.

We cannot afford to let the crop get too tall for our mounted spreader before applying the critical second application of nitrogen. While we have some time before the crop reaches that stage, we may have to go out in less than ideal conditions if the broken weather looks like continuing.

I would also like to get the first split out on the winter wheat and oats within the next few days.


Meanwhile, the beans ground lies unploughed and the beans themselves are in the shed waiting for a break.

Drains which I had assumed would not run again until next autumn are now flowing vigorously, but land can dry out quickly at this time of the year. In any case, there is little point in panicking about things I can do nothing about.


On the cattle side, I was reminded that this time last year we had the cattle out day and night.

This year we are keeping an anxious eye on the remaining stock of silage as we get through much more than usual this spring.

We are selling the dairy beef crosses as soon as they become fit, but we have a lot of stores on hand which are putting pressure on feed supplies.

We are eating into our supplies of hay made during the dry summer and have bought in more wet grains than normal to stretch the silage. While the price of beef has steadied, the costs of running the cattle side are mounting.

With April just around the corner, it looks as if we will not get some of the land intended for first cut silage grazed at all. It’s a long time since we were in that position.