Hi All,

I spent the weekend hawking around various Sainsbury’s car parks….Christmas shopping you may ask ?, of course not 🙂  I was looking for flocks of Waxwings that seem to like the Rowan trees and other berry yielders that they are planted up with. These birds are special, I found them in a little park opposite Loughborough Railway Station. You can walk right up to them when they’re feeding and they just sit and twitter quietly to each other..cute.

As we limber up towards the Winter Solstice (Dec 21st), the point where the sun sits at its most southerly position in the sky, rising barely 15° above the horizon and providing a headache to all with shady greens and the like, we should all welcome this tipping point after which the days slowly start to get longer. It has been a long, wet year, truth be told, and unfortunately that’s how it’s going to see itself out with a succession of low pressure systems rattling in over the next 10 days, with a quiet, dry interlude inbetween.

General Weather Situation

As we start the week we have the remnants of that low pressure system, that gave us 14.2mm of rain on Friday, sitting over the U.K and it’s slowly weakening, so a quiet start to the week. A dry start for most, but they’re some showers around, with heavier rain moving into Connacht, west Munster, Wales and the north-west of England around lunchtime and slowly pushing eastwards through the afternoon / evening into The Midlands and the south-west of England, so a damp finish to the day here. For Tuesday that rain is sitting over north London and slowly eases out into the Thames Estuary leaving a dry day for just about everyone and with calm winds, this is the best spray day of the week, if you’re hankering to apply. By midnight, a heavy band of rain is just reaching south-west Munster and the south west of England, pushed along on strong, mild, southerly winds. This rain will push diagonally across Ireland and the U.K during Wednesday, giving a heavish dollop in places and lasting around 4 hours in duration, before clearing away in the evening. Unfortunately hot on its heels is another heavy rain front, that pushes into Munster and the south-west / south coast of England early doors Thursday and then pushes up across country, with The Midlands in line for a good chunk of this rainfall. That rainfall shouldn’t reach Dublin till lunchtime and will be lighter in intensity. Friday looks to be a drier day for many, with only a concentrated band of showers nipping away at the south-west of England, but I’m afraid Saturday looks like a repeat of Thursday, with heavy rain pushing into Munster, Connacht, the south-west of England and moving across the U.K over Saturday, so heavy rain again I’m afraid and with it so closely following the mid-week rainfall, more flooding is on the cards. Sunday looks to be wet as well, though not as heavy rainfall-wise.

Weather Outlook

As I look to Christmas week, low pressure remains in charge, with the predominant factor being strong winds, from the west initially, but turning more north-westerly towards the latter part of the week, so knocking the temperature down. The outlook appears unsettled, showery, but no particularly heavy bands of rain in sight, so maybe a reprise from this weeks deluge. Those showers may fall as snow / sleet across higher ground, particularly in Scotland towards the end of Christmas week, but going into The New Year, I can see another mild interval on the way. We’re definitely not stuck in a trough now, more like teetering on the edge of a peak and a trough, hence the alternating weather patterns.

Agronomic Notes

Fristly, I’d like to ask you to kindly send in your year-end rainfall data in early January, so we can see how the year fared vs. last year and the national average for your area. It always makes interesting reading and I know it can sometimes help to explain course playability issues as well, often to a membership with their selective memory button firmly stuck in the ‘on’ position.

Obviously, spray windows are the order of the day and realistically Tuesday represents the best spray window of the week, with quiet winds and no rain forecast. We have, of course, a pretty wet interlude mid-week and at the weekend, but with mild temperatures arriving along with the rain, I think you’ll still get good uptake of fertilisers, irons and / or fungicide tankmixes, though there may be some loss through leaching. Friday may present another opportunity, but less likely, as the ground will be so saturated, just getting to surfaces may prove more trouble than it’s worth.

Frost-related issues should be less of a concern over the next 7-10 days because the wind and cloud cover will reduce the potential for frost formation. This week should be no problem frost-wise.

Plenty of pecking and Badger activity reported, mainly for worms located close to the surface with the wet weather, but I expect Bibionids to turn up anytime now on the menu, with the mild and wet weather we’ve had.

Ok that’s it, as I look out of my office window, I can see a neighbour nipping off in his camper van, what a great idea, pack the boogyboard, fishing gear and drive south till it gets warmer and drier, I simply must try that sometime…

Mark Hunt