As we come into the first week of July, everything looks to be behind target. In some cases, we have caught up to some extent – in others, the end result will inevitably be very poor.

On the grass and cattle side, we still have some shed cattle finishing. Normally these would have been on grass at least by day since mid- to late-February. This year the land wouldn’t have carried them until mid-April, so they have not been out of the shed at all. The cost to finish off these has been significant with silage, concentrates and slurry handling. We have negotiated as hard as we can with our factory customers, but there is only so far they are willing to go.

Given how late we closed up the fields for first-cut silage and with reduced nitrogen applied, it’s not surprising that the yield is well back – by about 25% at least, I reckon.

We have now closed up the same area for the second cut – it has all got slurry and nitrogen, and seems to be growing fine. We intend to take it around mid-August. We will then measure how we stand for the winter.

Recovery after grazing has been good and reading the excellent book from the beef open day in Grange, we will follow their recommendation to leave a good cover of grass on the paddocks after grazing, as we go through the rest of the summer and into the autumn. On the crop side, the winter wheat has probably made the best progress of the winter crops. The ears look full and the plants are still reasonably green. The winter barley is still some way off.

There is an unusual amount of crow damage, despite our best efforts, but the crop looks okay. The last of the winter crops are two fields of oilseed rape. The Clearfield looks awful. A dense mat of grass seems to have sucked the nutrients out of what was already a very poor crop with bad establishment. I presume it will be worth harvesting, but the yield will be very poor. We will use Roundup on it to clean up the weeds and, hopefully, allow the harvester to work. The other conventional oilseed rape is much better – some bare patches from water-logging, but the yield should be reasonable.

Of the spring crops, the beans are in full flower and are well established.

The spring barley, the first crop I have ever had of it, has shot out, but the crop is not tall, neither are the spring oats, but at least the oats seems to have a good density of heads, but all three spring crops have a long way to go.