After such a good summer, the autumn weather has disappointed.
For in early September the rainy season began with a vengeance, with its mission to quickly wash away the very pleasant memories of the lovely harvest.
But because the land was so dry and despite a very wet September, it wasn’t until early October that field work became difficult.
The rain kept falling and almost unthinkably after such a summer, the end to min-till sowing came very quickly, after a few dismally wet days.
On 12 October we finished sowing the wheat and planned to sow the oats. That hasn’t happened and, with what has fallen since, I’m glad we pulled the plug when we did.
Headlands take a mauling in wet fields with min-till. The Horsch Sprinter seed drill has too many soil-sticking press wheels in these conditions.
Yes, we probably could have sown the oats in if we resorted to the plough but this didn’t fill me with enthusiasm; the fields were cultivated and I’d like them to remain in min-till.
But had we intentionally delayed starting to sow until October, as I was toying with cultural grassweed, disease and aphid control reasons, we would have been disappointed and left with too much seed unsown.
The aphid risk has remained high with the unseasonably warm weather and neither have I sprayed any insecticide.
But even if ground conditions had allowed it, I don’t think I would have; the winter barley is Joyau which is considered to be aphid-tolerant.
I’m not keen on insecticides, beneficials and other little fellows inevitably suffer.
The all-important pre-emergence herbicide is on the barley, which is good, and some wheat has been sprayed with Avadex. I’d like to get more of the wheat covered with Alister Flex, if possible, but this is now unlikely.
But what’s always the final spraying job of the year hasn’t happened yet – the soils are still too warm for spraying the oilseed rape with the herbicide Kerb.
Tough, durable and reliable
I bought a smart new Regatta gilet emblazoned with ‘Tyrone Trailers Tough|Durable|Reliable’. Mrs P likes it on me principally, I think, for three reasons.
Firstly, it’s clean and not falling to pieces and, for a while at least, I look like I’ve a home to go to.
Secondly, it’s from the wee North and her home county and finally, she finds the tough durable reliable bit very amusing, as if they’re qualities missing in me.
And the tough theme is carried through in the Tyrone Trailers logo which is a double T cleverly stylised as a bull’s head. No messing there.
This gilet has cost me a load of money. But I did get a 12t low-loader thrown in with it, which helped, because I needed one. And it’s a lovely piece of work, shining in Massey Ferguson red.
County Tyrone is full of machinery manufacturers and engineering works, akin to County Carlow in the south, only much more so. At the top of the pile is Powerscreen, a world leader in quarrying equipment.
In agricultural machinery manufacturers there’s well-known names like Chieftain, Herbst, JPM, McKee, Nugent and more. The quality of agricultural machinery manufactured on the island of Ireland is incredible and is exported all over the world.
Perhaps we could apply our engineering prowess to a seed drill that can cope with later and typically wetter conditions. But maybe it’s already here.
I watch the much-needed refinement of the UK-built Triton Seed Drills with interest as they claim to be able to establish crops in wetter conditions.
And, you know, some Triton rain-gear might be a good fit over my shiny new gilet. But for Mrs P’s smile, it needs to be tough, durable and reliable.