We are left with a dilemma on the spring barley crop
Published 06/05/2015 | 02:30
The cold weather earlier in the spring acted as a natural growth regulator, so when the weather and the soil warmed up everything took off.
We had a lot of work to do all at the same time. Get the fertiliser out and spray the winter crops and then plough, sow and roll the spring crops. We put the spring barley (Propino) in the slightly wetter fields which needed extra time to dry up. We also sowed at a slightly heavier than normal rate of 12st per acre as the ground is quite heavy.
One of the wet fields, that in previous years had been in spring barley, has been growing grass for the last five years. It was very difficult to cut during a wet harvest and it would only take one small mechanical break to take the profit out of the field.
It is now described as permanent pasture. If we need to increase our EFAs (Ecological Focus Area) in the future we cannot make a field of permanent pasture fallow.
We decided to chance putting spring barley back into the field this year, which will give us more options for EFAs in the future. It may also give us more options for GLAS, if we are accepted.
We will have to put a permanent fence down the middle if we decide to use it for both EFAs and GLAS. If we did this we could put wild bird cover on one side and fallow on the other.
The dilemma we face is whether we invest in a spring barley crop this year - or not waste any money and effort and just mow it down.
When a crop is looking good and well established it's very hard not to try and get something out of it even if it's only to cover the cost of putting it in.