Dunsden Green Farm, South Oxfordshire - Alpaga H'21
Produced with the kind permission of Simon Beddows
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The long spell of cold weather has delayed spring applications, we are just about up to date with herbicides. The winter linseed continues to struggle on where the deer and pigeons have been grazing. Elsewhere it is now stem extending but could also do with a drink and less cold nights. The cold and dry are affecting all the crops growth this spring.
April has turned dry with a total of 5 mm recorded. Temperatures are slowly increasing but are still quite cold at 6.5 °C (see Sencrop weather data below).
February / March 2021
All the winter crops took a beating from the cold north easterlies, but the Linseed seemed to be hit the hardest. There didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason as to which plants had been damaged, with unharmed leaves next to what looked like dead and dying leaves. This photo was taken on Monday 15th February the day after the last of the cold winds. By the Friday, after a few days of temperatures going from an average of minus 2 to plus 12, new growth was already evident. I breathed a sigh of relief as it now looks like it's mostly ok. Shame the cold winds didn't have much effect on the broad leaved weeds though. They are going to be particularly difficult to control now that bromoxynil is being revoked.
Into March the linseed has continued its remarkable recovery from the frost damage. On close exami-nation you can see the leaves that were frosted have now shrivelled up and dropped off, whilst the rest of the plant powers away. Sadly though we have an area that has been severely grazed by deer and the now returning ravenous pigeons. So not all is rosy in the fields. That's farming though, you just crack one problem only to find another one waiting for you. Still I wouldn't swap it for any other job.
The rain has kept falling into February and March, with a total of 62.9mm recorded. Temperatures are slowly increasing but are still quite cold at 5.3 °C (see Sencrop weather data below).
December 2020 / January 2021
The Winter Linseed has been under snow from the weekend 23-24th January. When conditions allow, a winter fungicide will be applied to the linseed. Thus far, high amounts of autumn rainfall have made this impossible.
December was a decidedly wet month, 61.55mm of rain was recorded. Following on, January rain fall was recorded at 73.7 mm. Temperatures are starting to drop, in December they averaged 5.5°C, but fell in January to an average of 3.8 °C (see Sencrop weather data below).
Despite the wet weather Fusilade max was applied at 0.5l/ha 10 days ago to control a few volunteers and some brome. The herbicide has worked well, and both weeds are starting to die. Light cultivations and waiting until the third week of September for drilling, following winter barley, gave plenty of time to control grass weeds which meant there was no rush for a graminicide. The late season also means a PGR application is needed, and all that remains to be applied before winter is 0.25l/ha of Difcor.
The rainfall has dropped in November with 50.3 mm recorded. Temperatures are starting to drop and are averaging 8.8 °C (see Sencrop weather data below).
The crop growth seems slower this year, but so are the volunteer cereals. The crop on the whole is quite clean, with one field will need spring herbicides for broad leaves weeds
The rain has continued into October with 159.8 mm recorded. Temperatures are starting to drop and are averaging 10.8 °C (see Sencrop weather data below).
Winter linseed variety Alpaga was drilled in the third week of September with John Deere 750A which allows variable seed rate drilling. The straw of the previous crop of Wheat has been treated differently to last year, with some baled and some chopped.
Drilling in the third week of September allows time for light cultivations to get weed seeds and volunteers to germinate, which can be sprayed off with glyphosate before drilling. After sowing the field is rolled to ensure good seed-to-soil contact and to give the best conditions for the pre-emergence herbicide Callisto to work against broad-leaved weeds.
Rain has arrived in time for drilling, though not as much as liked. The average rainfall for September 27.9mm and temperatures have kept soils warm since sowing have been averaging 15.4 °C (see Sencrop weather data below).