Crops are burning up at Ballicherry, with little to no rain falling during April or May, or so far in June. Winter wheats went in late in the autumn to wet seedbeds which became water-logged during the winter, thus creating a poor rooting system, which is now making plants vulnerable to the drought.

In addition to this, our light soil is very unforgiving in the dry, with some of it looking like pure beach sand at the moment. Small parts of some fields of wheat are completely burnt off and there will be no coming back for them, but the majority is just looking very stressed. The earliest sown spring barleys now have the awns starting to appear, while the latest fields, drilled about three weeks later, are still at GS 31-32.

The pre-em herbicide seems to have done a reasonable job this year on the annual meadow grass in the fields which got it, though it probably would have worked better were conditions slightly damper.

Last week, we spent a bit of time trying to decide about growth regulator on some of our Sassy seed crops – to apply plant growth regulator (PGR) or not to PGR? On an average year, most fields get PGR to reduce brackling risk, but this doesn’t seem to be an average year. As Sassy has a brackling risk score of 6, compared to Concerto's and Laureate's better scores of 8, we decided in the end to do some of the heavier looking end-rigs, but left the main bodies of the fields as the plants are looking so stressed we were worried a PGR might tip them over the edge. Also, if this weather continues, lodging isn't something we are going to have to worry about anyway.

Carrot drilling was finished on May 24 and lifting is still ongoing, though should be finished within the next fortnight ... hopefully. We haven’t had to irrigate carrots up here since 2006 due to our generally damp summers, but if the weather doesn’t change soon, it’s something we might need to start thinking about.

Just the mention of the ‘I’ word brings back traumatic memories of school holidays lifting pipes filled with wasp nests and getting absolutely soaked on a daily basis – character building stuff! Let’s hope it starts raining soon – but that it remembers to stop and give us all a reason to stop moaning for once!

Along with spraying, the next month will be spent getting the sheds mucked out and power washed, and we’ll re-paint the interior of a few of our older sheds, as we have a couple holding their wedding reception here at the end of the summer, so we need to get the place spruced up a little before harvest machinery and store preparations starts.

The couple holding the wedding approached us after seeing photos from our own wedding on our farm Facebook page, and we’ve had a few other people out looking since, with another one pencilled in for summer 2019! An exciting potential diversification opportunity, it will be interesting to see how the first one goes and it will be a steep learning curve I’m sure!