Dear All,


Dec 13th to Dec 19th 2, 4-24, 2, 2, 0-6, 2, 1-2 – with the forecast as wet as it is, I’ve GOT to get some rain in the coming week.

I mentioned last week that my experiment on when to prime is (so far) giving a null result – there doesn’t seem to be any difference. There is also no sign of Boron affecting the tobacco even as high as 12kg/ha of Solubor. I say this, not because I recommend going that high, but because, if you ARE getting serious leaf drop, then don’t be afraid to go at least 5kg/ha – as far as this experiment is showing – you can do so safely. I want that Boron for my pastures, but I don’t think it is wise to put it all on the tobacco. Boron is highly leachable and might be gone before my pastures can use it. I will put a little more when I sow the legumes.

I cannot now remember where I read it, perhaps an Australian article on drought management, but I do remember the main conclusion – if you have to offload cattle in a drought, the sooner you do so the better. The grass you save (by selling early) will then be enough to see your remaining stock through. I think it would be unduly pessimistic to start off-loading now, but I think it would be wise to start thinking about it. John Clayton (who follows these things) says it is now thought that this El Nino is NOT going to affect us too badly. I am more skeptical; I believe all the weather websites (including John’s) consult the same witchdoctor who is about as good at predicting the weather as I am.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I had prepared a couple of Power Point presentations that I use with my small scale neighbours. They are big files (150Mbyte) and I wondered how I would get them to you, if anyone was interested. I now realize that the place to leave them is on the ZNFU computer in Choma – you can take a memory stick there and copy them off their computer. I haven’t got any notes to explain the pictures, but I think you will be able to guess the point I am trying to make and you can fill in the gaps.

Just a safety point. Some of you may have heard that Patrick had a big electrical hit on Saturday and my mother’s distribution board caught fire. Don’t throw water at an electrical fire. (Mum did and survived to tell the tale, but it is extremely dangerous.) If you haven’t got a dry powder fire extinguisher to hand then use a large flat board to starve the fire of oxygen. (Long time readers of this blog might remember Danny’s Law – an extension of Murphy’s Law – that, if you have thought of a precaution and then you don’t take it, that disaster WILL occur. So, those of us who live in thatched houses, with distribution boards close to the thatch, SHOULD invest in a dry powder fire-extinguisher.)

Have a good Christmas and of course a prosperous 2016. (Prices may be a lot better than we feared because the Zimbabwe crop, being small scale, has been planted much much later than normal. Let’s hope so.)



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