Duncan Farrington: A perfect spring – but challenges lie ahead!

No two days are the same on the farm, says Duncan Farrington
No two days are the same on the farm, says Duncan Farrington

It is full steam ahead here as spring work continues on the farm in perfect weather conditions.

Marvin has finished planting the crops, which have germinated and are rapidly emerging through the warm moist soils.

The patchwork colours of the English countryside will continue to change from browns, to different shades of green, along with the yellow of rapeseed, mixed in with the greens of autumn planted crops.

We continue to apply fertiliser to the crops, helping them grow successfully throughout the season.

Additionally we are walking all the fields regularly with the agronomist, looking for any signs of disease that may need treating.

This year it has been ideal conditions for something called rust, a disease spread by fungal spores in warm dry conditions, resulting in the leaves on the wheat crops becoming covered in a brown rusty-looking disease.

The disease saps the energy from the plant and we control it with a fungicide chemical, not dissimilar to one used in controlling athletes’ foot.

The ground has at last dried off enough for me to finish off the area around our new bio-bed, getting this levelled and set with grass seed ready to make the farm yard all tidy for Open Farm Sunday on June 8.

Plans for the event continue, the beer and hog roast are booked, as is the tea and cake stall.

Eli will hold salad dressing-making workshops throughout the day and some livestock will arrive with neighbouring farmers.

We are also getting involved with the Northants Young Farmers annual rally, and are organising an Oil Slide Challenge, in which young farmers compete to raise money for charities close to our hearts.

We are also decorating one of our barn conversions to get it ready to hopefully rent out to local businesses.

I’ve been around with the screwdriver fixing door fittings and electrical work, while my father is poised, paint brush in hand.

Now, as I write this article, I can hear gasps and laughs as everyone is next door having some first aid training today.

If nothing else, working on a farm is certainly varied, with no two days often being the same!