The national obsession with rainfall continues – the average rain fall maps for the UK on the web office website for April though illustrate why generalities don’t work well in Scotland with Lothians and Fife 75-90 % down on average, Aberdeenshire although dry was about average in April and Caithness was 36% up on the norm. A few showers this week have helped to settle the dust but in dry areas it will clearly take a bit more to penetrate below the surface. It has at least shift the visible fertilser top dressing.
There has been a further flurry of newspaper and TV headlines attached to pesticide regulation – neonicotinoids even get a mention in a party manifesto. It is clear that public concern over pesticides is not going to diminish and as an industry we have a positive story to tell in Scotland about the proportion of our crops that are quality assured and the great efforts that are made to engage with upskilling, tacking up new technical information and with the Voluntary Initiative. Working in integrated ways across the farm and through your rotations can help to reduce pest, weed and disease pressure but as demonstrated above with the weather data, one size does not fit all and what works for one farm will not be appropriate to another. We really urge you to look at the on-line planning tool which we have developed with the VI and NFUS and hosted at this link https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/cap-reform-and-crop-policy/9a1bb2d9/ . It will help you to nail down what your key risk, list what you already do and will flag things that you can do which are tailored to your farm. It really is intended to help.