100% spring cropping

Clive

Staff Member
BASE UK Member
Location
Lichfield
Whats not to like?
Harvest, light cultivation whilst planting cover crop, spray off in December/ January, direct drill as soon as conditions are right in the spring. Massive reduction in fixed costs, cash flow is as easy as it gets, no pressure on the sprayer, seasonal labour requirements are slashed. Plenty of time in the autumn to catch up with mole draining. Need a decent spring I know but it sounds attractive.
Low gross output is what’s not to like

What’s to like more is 40 - 50% spring cropping if you want to create the best fixed cost structure and grassweed strategy - this principle underlines how we are farming more so than notill / conservation ag
 

Brisel

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
North Yorkshire
I'm 50% spring cropping. That's too much spring crops. Great for weed control, cover crops and spreading the workload but it ensures a later harvest and spring crop yields & quality are far more volatile than winters. Spring drilling is 2/3 of the daily output of Sept/October sowing. Lots of waiting around for the ground to dry out whilst the sprayer & fertiliser spinner are going flat out as well as running a drilling crew.
 

ajd132

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Suffolk
Low gross output is what’s not to like

What’s to like more is 40 - 50% spring cropping if you want to create the best fixed cost structure and grassweed strategy - this principle underlines how we are farming more so than notill / conservation ag
50:50 is the ultimate. 100% either way overloads it too much. Wheat can be grown cheaper than many think and beans are always fairly profitable for us. Our drilling takes a week in the autumn and a week in the spring at most. It’s a part time job!
 

farmerm

Member
Location
Shropshire
Whats not to like?
Harvest, light cultivation whilst planting cover crop, spray off in December/ January, direct drill as soon as conditions are right in the spring. Massive reduction in fixed costs, cash flow is as easy as it gets, no pressure on the sprayer, seasonal labour requirements are slashed. Plenty of time in the autumn to catch up with mole draining. Need a decent spring I know but it sounds attractive.
We had to do this once after rain started and we couldn't get winter cereals in... Probably some of the best gross margin crops we ever grew, yielded well and very low inputs.. But the weather was with us that spring... here in the west on fairly heavy ground in a spring that stays too cold and too wet until Mid April and then bakes dry for 6 weeks :nailbiting:. Commit to spring drilling and there are no second chances.
 
I think overall returns from 100% spring cropping would be too erratic for me. There’s a very real danger of disaster years where nothing yields; 2 or 3 back to back also very possible and then you could end up in hot water. At least with winter cropping you are spreading risk and resources to a different time of year. The drilling window in spring is also very variable,easy some years and difficult the next. It would be very stressful in those difficult ones!
 

MrNoo

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Cirencester
In a perfect year it would be fine, this year has been very good for Spring crops here, growing a mix of SB and SW and both look great, very cheap input wise and hope they produce the goods.
But one year I ended up with 400 acres out of 550 in Spring cropping and it was too much for me on my own, I only had a Vaddy drill and it had to dry out enough to get that over the ground. So it went in later than ideal and then droughted, yields were well down and the accounts showed it at the end of the year.
However I tend to grow about a 50:50 split of Spring and Winter crops here and it works well, also having an old combie drill means I can plough (rotationally) and get drilling earlier. I also like to see the partridge in the stubbles too which is an added bonus.
 

bankrupt

Member
Location
EX17/20
Was always 100% Spring cropping for us all through the 40s, 50s and the early 60s.

Drilled SB most days all the way from New Year's Day until Easter in 1962, for example.

Which turned out to be a record year.

Strictly speaking, of course, it wasn't ever 100% cropping because some 20%-40% would be left as fallow due to the then 98% income tax.

And it was always one's accountant who determined exactly how much of the farm should be planted and how much not.
 
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Clive

Staff Member
BASE UK Member
Location
Lichfield
I think overall returns from 100% spring cropping would be too erratic for me. There’s a very real danger of disaster years where nothing yields; 2 or 3 back to back also very possible and then you could end up in hot water. At least with winter cropping you are spreading risk and resources to a different time of year. The drilling window in spring is also very variable,easy some years and difficult the next. It would be very stressful in those difficult ones!
My soils and farming system (fixed cost structure) used to be totally unsuitable for spring crops

You can change both those things though quite quickly
 

Lincsman

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lincolnshire
Whats not to like?
Harvest, light cultivation whilst planting cover crop, spray off in December/ January, direct drill as soon as conditions are right in the spring. Massive reduction in fixed costs, cash flow is as easy as it gets, no pressure on the sprayer, seasonal labour requirements are slashed. Plenty of time in the autumn to catch up with mole draining. Need a decent spring I know but it sounds attractive.
On my clay below sea level it would be under water most of the winter in an average year.
 

bankrupt

Member
Location
EX17/20
...... where did it all go so wrong !
I suspect this was intended to be set as a rhetorical question, Clive, but it does have a reasonable answer.

The Wilson government reduced nominal grain prices by 4% pa from 1964-1970 which with the then 3% inflation (never much publicized at the time) was a 7% cost-price squeeze for 7 years.

.
 
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GeorgeK

Member
Location
Leicestershire
Why can't we have some crops that are autumn drilled and spring germinating? Lots of weed seeds are capable of sitting in the ground over winter and popping up with perfect timing in spring. No spring moisture loss, compaction or disturbance, pass with the sprayer before they emerge as usual, would solve a lot of problems
 

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