Winter crop update

The end of the first month of 2015 is about to arrive, and our rape is starting to grow. The days are getting longer, but a few pigeons are still in evidence on the headlands where there are electric wires and trees for them to land in.

For the first time in many years I did not attend Lamma as the travelling from home makes it a long day. I will be attending Yorkshire agricultural machinery show, though, which is said to be larger than last year. This small show was well attended although the weather was not great last year.

We have just loaded the last of 2014’s oilseed rape as the price has fallen away again now, but we are still waiting to load the last of the feed barley which seems to be yielding better than we thought. We had to take a bucket out of the rear tailgate of the lorry as the driver said he was overloaded – the first time we have had to do that for a long time on barley!

The crops in the fields are wintering well so far. The barley is losing leaf due to mildew and manganese deficiency but I am sure with the root system it has it will soon grow away when it warms up. The first wheats all look well and are tillering happily, and will not require any nitrogen for a while. This contrasts with the second wheats, especially where straw was incorporated into the seedbed as they are thinner with few tillers, even though we used another 50 to 75 seeds a square metre more. The Relay second wheat which received biosolids looks like a first wheat and is too thick – we should have reduced the seed rate, but the seedbed was not the best. This was because we had a demo machine on farm for the day and had to incorporate the biosolids, so ended up cultivating it when the ground was too wet.

We have purchased a cultivator, which anyone who did attend Lamma would have seen on the Alpego stand. I’ll update you on how it goes when we have used it, which may be in the spring for vining peas if soil conditions are suitable after we get the field drained when it dries up.



Philip Meadley farms 250ha near Driffield, approximately four miles from the North Sea coast. In a four-way family partnership, he grows milling wheat, oilseed rape, peas and barley. Phil is particularly interested in soil health, reducing fuel usage, addressing mycotoxins and looking at his whole approach to cultivations.