31 January 2024

Rainfall in 2023

As usual, once a year, we analyse the annual rainfall data for our area and prepare this report to show the results to all of you. These data are very located (La Alberca de Záncara - Cuenca), but we think that the precipitation pattern could be applicable to the central area of Spain (the northern and southern zones have considerably more rainfall throughout the year).

Looking at the amount of rainfall throughout the year (495mm), who would thought it was a disastrous harvest year? This year has indeed been the worst we have experienced as farmers (we remember 1995 and 2005, when there was also a drought). Nonetheless, this year 2023 has been catastrophic for the countryside, especially in the central region of the peninsula. And it is true that the quantity is much higher than last year (a year when cereal and pulse crops were also poor)... and as we have been saying for some years now, rainfall patterns are worse and worse. This time, the rainfall couldn't have been worse, since the bulk of it occurred in the last days of May and June, when the harvest was already lost, and in September, when we hadn't even started with the 2023-2024 campaign.

The rains in June spoiled what little harvest there was, causing the few little grains to fall to the ground and weeds to sprout quickly (we had to till the harvested fields with the disc harrows because with the cultivator it was practically impossible). As for the intense rains in September, they couldn't have done more damage to the field due to the large torrential downpours they generated... water that, instead of benefiting, destroyed the soil, uprooted woody crops and was lost without proper use.

If we focus on rainfall by season, this time spring was the rainiest period (195 mm), and winter practically did not register any precipitation... this was one of the key factors for the almost total loss of the crop.

For some years now, the climate has been becoming a serious problem for extensive rainfed crops. It seems that the annual rainfall pattern (long periods of drought and torrential rains), fits better with woody crops, which are able to take store more water when it rains and withstand drought better.

Versión en español.

17 January 2024

Castilian lentil. Sowing work with the MF 8S.225

We started the year visiting our friends Leoncio and Miguel, at the Casablanca farm (San Clemente - Cuenca), the aim was to see the Massey Ferguson 8S.225 Dyna-7 sowing Castilian lentils. We spent a fun afternoon watching the tractor in action... we really liked the tractor. MF certainly has a premium product with 8S Series. 

In our area, vegetables pulse crops are already very common and we use them in the rotations required by European aid (CAP). Cuenca is one of the provinces where most sunflower is sown, but in our area (southern part of the province) the sunflower is already a minimum crop due to the very dry and hot summers, so for years we have focused on winter crops and woody crops. We still sow some sunflower, but in very specific fields to control weeds, for example. 

In terms of machinery, the 8S tractor and the Aguirre seed drill made a spectacular team. We really liked the tractor, especially the breadth of the cab and its comfort. Miguel told us that he was very happy and that it allows him to work many hectares a day and many hours per day. As for the seed drill, it is a tried and tested machine that works without any problems.  

The data and technical featrues most important of the tractor are: 

  • AGCO Power 7.4-litre 6-cylinder engine.
  • Power ratings: from 205HP to 305HP.
  • Transmissions: Dyna-7, Dyna E-Power and Dyna-VT (Fendt).
  • Maximum Lift Capacity (kg): 10,000 kg lift capacity.
  • Operator environment: Efficient and Exclusive.
  • Hydraulic pump up to 205 l/min (1,650 rpm) with Closed Centre Load Sensing.
  • Up to 8 electrical spool valves.
  • Farming Technology 4.0: MF Guide system, MF Section & Rate Control, MF Task Doc Pro, MF Next Management FMIS and Fieldstar 5 terminal.
  • Cab: 3.4m3 space, 6.6m2 glass surface and 68dB.
  • NovAtel® and Trimble® GPS receivers systems.
  • 3.05m wheelbase and 5.7m turning radius.
  • Minimum weight of 10,000kg and Maximum Gross vehicle weight of 16,000kg.

We have to admit that we only looked at the tractor, as it was the first 8S we had seen working in a "real" field, far from fairs and demonstrations and we have to admit that we were impressed. If we have to make any improvements, perhaps the GPS screen (Datatronic 5) was too small with a dark interface... There is room for improvement, but the tractor is a premium tractor in every way. 

Versión en español.