November 8th, 2021

Hi All,

This image was taken at just gone 4 p.m yesterday as the autumnal sun descended over the south arm of Rutland Water and it served as a stark reminder to me that with the clocks going back, diminishing daylight is with us for another winter. This year it seems like putting the clocks back also coincided with a real change in the weather as we picked up our first frosts of the year as well soon after. I was fishing at daybreak last week and wow it was both beautiful but also a tad parky on the fingers, especially when you’re up to your waist in water. I did catch though 🙂

Not the best picture but you might just be able to make out 3 Hedgepigs in this Spypoint camera night shot which means I have a Hedgehog family in my garden again, a year and a half after the local Badgers decimated them. Great to see how nature bounces back when you put the right habitat in place for it 🙂

Still no Redwings or Fieldfares in any numbers, I might have spotted a few yesterday but they are so so late this year compared to normal and maybe this is how it will be from now on, with warmer temperatures in Scandinavia later into the autumn ?

Maybe they’ll arrive later and go back later perhaps if our run of cold springs is a new climate norm.

I don’t often agree with Greta Thundberg, but her summing up of the first week of COP26 was pretty much spot on. A lot of talk, a lot of promises but no real Zeit geist shift. I think we, the public have to lead the way and change our habits. I read yesterday that if all UK supermarkets put doors on their freezers it would save 1% of the entire electricity consumption of the U.K. Well Boris, make it law then.

The chaos that is the fertiliser raw material market still shows no sign of abating and with China’s decision to cut back its exports of phosphate by 90%, we simply will not have enough in the world market to satisfy demand. So if you are concerned that phosphite may one day disappear due to the forthcoming adoption of E.U regulations, I wouldn’t worry because there won’t be the phosphoric acid substrate available to make it anymore. Times they are a changing and adapt we must.

GFS Output 08-11-21

General Weather Situation

So with a ridge of high pressure nudging in this week, we have a quiet one coming up and on a positive note, a pretty dry one as well to boot for most areas.

Good news for all of you struggling with worm casts.

So Monday looks to be a pretty dry start to the week but as always there’s an exception and this week it’s Ireland where a rain front will push in from early doors to mark a wet start to the week. This front will track north and east so by lunchtime it’ll be nudging into the west of Scotland and clearing Ireland as it does so. Further south of this for England and Wales, a nice dry start to the week with light winds and some sunshine. That wind will pick up during the day a little but otherwise it’ll be a dry and reasonably mild start to the week with temperatures pushing up to 13°C for England and Wales. Scotland sees that rain push eastwards across the whole country during the second half of the day and we will see some rain for the north west of England though this will mainly be confined to the coast. A wet start to the week for Ireland but it’ll clear through the morning to leave behind a mild and windy (ish) second half to the day with temperatures up to 15°C.

Overnight into Tuesday and sees another rain front in situ at dawn and this will push north and east into the south west of Scotland with some of that rain on the heavy side. Again for England and Wales, a dry start after a very mild night where temperatures won’t drop below double figures and that’s how it’ll stay for the majority . That rain front will drift south down the north west coast of England and into north and west Wales by the close of day. Everywhere else looks pretty dry and mild, so what’s not to like. A moderate to strong drying wind, temperatures up into the mid-teens and some sunshine. Not bad for November eh ?

Mid-week beckons and overnight that troublesome rain over Wales has formed into a diagonal line (/) that will proceed to sink south through northern England into The Midlands and down into The South West by dawn. This front will hang around for most of Wednesday.  So imagine a line from The Wash down to The South West because that’s where it’ll be and then it’ll slowly sink south through the second half of the day. Ireland, north of The Humber and Scotland look to stay nice and dry but noticeably cooler on Wednesday as those mild temperatures drop away to more like 9-10°C, which is typical for this time of the year. Wales will pick up some of that rain for the morning but it’ll clear through the afternoon to leave a dull and cooler p.m. Windier as well on Wednesday.

Thursday and high pressure is still valiantly holding off those Atlantic rain fronts which are massing out to the west and north west and for me, it’ll only be a matter of time before it heads our way. There’s a big chunk of heavy rain out in The Atlantic but for the main it’ll miss most of the U.K and Ireland on Thursday, well during the day anyway, so a dry one is forecast for all of the U.K & Ireland until late in the day when rain will push into the north west of Ireland and soon after, the west of Scotland. Some of this rain will push into the west of Ireland on Thursday night but the heavy stuff will be over the west coast of Scotland / Western Isles which will get a clattering I am afraid. Lighter winds on Thursday and that cooler feel to the weather with be universal so 9-10°C, the norm.

Closing out the week on Friday and that rain will still be over the west of Scotland and central areas as well but other than this, the weather picture is a dry one for England, Wales and Ireland. Through the morning, that rain over the west of Scotland will drift eastwards and lighten in intensity as it does so. For most areas, we have a dry, dull and pretty reasonable day I’d say, save for a strong gusty wind, especially over Ireland. Temperatures will pick up into the low double figures so a good drying day.

The outlook for the weekend looks not bad at all, dry on the whole, a cooler weather picture as the wind swings more north / north easterly and some sunshine in the weather picture as well for Saturday but especially Sunday. All in all, not bad really.

GFS Output 15-11-21

Weather Outlook

Well what an interesting GFS output !

Talk about peaks and troughs……That warmer air peak extends right up to Russia whereas the cooler air trough to the east of us stretches right down to northern Africa.

So next week we see that trough of cool air to the west and east join over us so that means a cooler week for a start off. Some rain around as well but it’ll be mainly for the north and north west initially on Monday with showers working their way south through Tuesday and Wednesday, so a sunshine and showers sort of week with a cool westerly wind, which strengthens mid-week. Unsettled then for the first part of the week and feeling noticeably chillier but towards the end of the week, a ridge of high pressure nudges up and quietens things down a tad for a time.

GFS Output 19-11-21

Not for long though because a really deep North Atlantic low is threatening to push rain and strong winds down for the weekend after next, starting with Scotland and the far north of England and then moving south with some really tightly packed isobars, so gale to storm force winds potentially and plenty of rain and possibly wintry showers for the north and east. The GFS output above gives a hint of what may be to come, but then again it can change so let’s see this time next week how we look.

Agronomic Notes

Continuing on from last week’s blog, first up I’m going to take a look back at October 2021 for both the U.K and Irish locations….

U.K Locations – Growth Potential and Rainfall – October 2021

So we see that October 2021 was both a reasonable growth month but also a pretty wet one.

As mentioned last week, October’s rainfall came over a low number of days with high single day totals and high rain rates leading to saturated surfaces, plenty of worm casts (as the ground was still warm) and washed out bunkers.

Just look at that rainfall total for Okehampton, 238.1 mm, and I know locations in South Wales were also affected in a similar fashion.

If you drill down into the stats you see this pattern to the monthly total for this  location.

October rainfall totals for Okehampton

Fewer rain days but higher single day totals with a massive 67 mm falling on the 28th of October.

This is one of the areas we will have to invest our money in the future in order to cope with the change in climate that we are seeing. Yes, for sure we have seen single day totals like this way back in the past but if you sit and work through all of the data, you’ll note that they are becoming much more common. So our greens, sports pitches, race courses need to be able to cope with moving a lot of water in a short period of time, drainage and runoff-wise else they’ll stay saturated and then you’ll get the familiar refrain….”Why is the course / sports pitch (delete where applicable) so wet ?”

The other aspect of this year has been the continually high conditions for growth as measured by Growth Potential.

If you lift the data from most locations you’ll see this sort of pattern ;

Monthly G.P totals – Okehampton – 2021

Since the cold start to the year we have seen some very strong growth months and this again brings implications for management, both good and bad.

To me it is interesting that October is warmer and more conducive to growth than May and September was nearly the same as June and July !

All this points to the trend I have noted since I first started doing this blog, warmer temperatures pushing further and further into the back end of the year due to peak patterns forming in the jet stream. Let us not forget we also dodged a bullet in July and August when we saw excessively high temperatures in southern Europe, again it’s only a matter of time before it comes our way. How is your facility and management kitted out to cope ?

It’ll then come down to the effectiveness of your irrigation system and of course to the supply of water.

There’s another issue coming down the line. It’s not immediately obvious in the picture at the top of my blog, but Rutland Water is so far down on its normal level for this time of year. Other reservoirs are in a similar position despite the seemingly wet October we endured. How so ? Maybe all the houses they’re building, everywhere, are ramping up demand ?

Irish Locations – Growth Potential and Rainfall – October 2021

Here we see the Irish stats with respect to growth potential and rainfall for the month of October.

Straight up you can see quite a bit of similarity between the stats for Ireland and the U.K.

Similar G.P figures and similarly high rainfall in the south, south west, west and north west in particular with the east drier. Even the daily rainfall pattern is similar.

Compare the rainfall daily totals below for Wexford with the chart above for Okehampton. Pretty similar pattern I’d say ?

October rainfall totals for Johnstown Castle, Wexford

There is another consequence to the kind of rainfall detailed above and that’s nutrient and chemical run off. Now we know that grass acts as a fantastic filter and very little nutrient and pesticide residue normally passes through a rootzone and into the environment. That is aside from the 100% sand, sports pitch design that we see in modern day football. You only have to imagine the nutrient losses there, especially considering the level of ‘inputs’.

When we have this type of rainfall characteristic, it doesn’t just flow through the rootzone, it runs off from the surface and this is more dangerous from a residue reaching the environment outside of the facility perspective. Now of course that shouldn’t be a problem in ‘normal product usage’ but we know that isn’t where we are now. For me it is only a matter of time before we see some form of regulation come into force like they have in Ireland recently where 70 odd golf clubs, seemingly chosen at random, received a letter from the PCS (Irish body governing pesticide usage) asking for really detailed information on all applications, purchase records (upstream to their supplier) and the like. A shot across the bows me thinks.

Over here we have a transition period between CRD and Defra and it’ll be interesting to see how the amenity market is ‘treated’ with respect to future legislation. It matters because we are living on borrowed time I think for the DMI range of pesticides. In normal language that means actives like Tebuconazole and Difenoconozole. Now I don’t know precisely at what stage the legislation is here but let’s just consider for a moment a ruling where we lost DMI active ingredients in our fungicide products. This would leave us with precise little fungicides on the shelf to do the job of controlling diseases like Anthracnose and Microdochium nivale. Food for thought maybe….?

Later in this month I’m going to the Crop Tech show at Peterborough as part of my other part-time job working with all things relating to Davis weather stations for Prodata . There they have a seminar dealing with this area specifically (see snippet below) but of course for agriculture.

Food for thought, I will of course report back because I am interested in the future for our industry.

All the best…

Mark Hunt