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Dealing with wet weather on the farm

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The Young Farmer column, by Joe Rabicano

After what seems like an age of just planning and paperwork, work started proper on the farm last week, in between umpteen showers, with the first seeds going in the ground to establish a 10-acre block of grass.

In theory it should have been very simple. The grass seed had been ordered back in September and sat in the shed ever since.

We were waiting for just a little rain to give some moisture to help with germination, then seeds could be drilled. Simple.

The Young Farmer column, Friday, September 18, 2019
The Young Farmer column, Friday, September 18, 2019

Well we waited and waited and then finally a little rain.

There was an ideal window for about six hours when the grass should have been put in, when the moisture levels and temperature were just spot on. Alas that window had already been taken up with something else.

Following that came day after day of rain, sodden ground now everywhere.

All the time the temperature is dropping and to cap it all the rain caused a flush of weeds, meaning what was a relatively bare field now held an outstanding crop of black grass, and unwanted volunteer potato plants.

It meant a rather panicked call to the agronomist was in order and together we devised a plan.

Checking the weather forecast became an hourly event, and my suspicions started to rise that in a few more days it wouldn’t be worth planting the grass this autumn, better to wait till spring. Suddenly, however, the weather cleared, a drying wind came in and we were good to go.

Job done in a couple of hours and a lot of relief all round. While only a tad stressful, it’s little problems like this that make me love farming, the challenges it produces every day are what makes it appealing to me.

I have also been very flattered in the last couple of weeks that an article about me has appeared in Farmers Weekly. It did the rounds on Facebook and I was delighted it got 125 comments.

A great deal of these were congratulating me and wishing me luck, which was very kind, but I was even more pleased by those in which people asked for advice on applying for council farms or starting their businesses.

If any readers of this column are interested I am more than happy to help.

Farming does have its issues, but when you can find a solution that works, there is no better feeling in my mind.

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