With storms Ciara and Dennis now a thing of the past this is a crucial time of the year for farmers in the region as the lengthening days and gradually warming sun give a boost to crops.
For one North Yorkshire farmer, it is of particular interest. Paul Hogarth, who runs Overdale Farm near Whitby, is undertaking crop trials to test the new fertilizer polyhalite which is being mined at Boulby in east Cleveland.
Paul works as a central overseer at the mine where his shift pattern allows him ample time to keep the farm running – with the help of his family and that of his wife Jane.
He explained how he got involved: “I’d asked about buying some standard poly but it was suggested I take part in some trials in local conditions. We had to test several spreaders and techniques to see which combination gave us the accurate spread we need. But once we had sorted that we were good to go.”
Back in September he planted 14 acres of barley, 100 of wheat and 12 of oil seed rape, and the difference already is remarkable: “The improved growth is astonishing, not just in terms of size but also of lushness which promises very good yields,” Paul said. “The oil seed rape fields have done particularly well, with stronger, more vigorous plants and a very noticeable evenness of plant population. It’s almost completely covered.”
The true test will come in late July when the harvest will be due but he is more than confident of a bumper crop this year – weather always permitting!