May will be the month to make or break your year
For agricultural consultants, May is the month that the whole year revolves around for many different reasons. For starter, the closing date of the Single Payment Scheme (SPY) and related schemes is slap bang in the middle of the month.
Despite our best efforts, the income derived from completion of this form decides the profitability of the majority of farms. It is crucial therefore that this form is completed accurately and in a timely fashion.
The SPS form is also the basis of all communications a farm will have with the relevant authorities for the remainder of the year so its importance is not merely for the draw-down of payments.
Most professions have a busy period at some stage every year, but at least agricultural consultants have the advantage that the busiest time of year coincides with longer days and warmer temperatures.
As well as the paperwork, May is one of very few months that can determine the output of a farm for the whole year. It is often said that if you have to sell a farm, sell it in May, as it's the time of the year when land looks its best.
Soil temperatures are increasing and soil moisture levels are still sufficient to meet requirements.
Growth rates are therefore at an optimum in May and all temperate crops have evolved to maximised the effect from high growth rates in May and the early summer period.
It's no coincidence that silage cuts are timed to take maximum benefit from this growth period.