The lull before harvest gives me time to plan improvements in the system for next year.

So far, our marketing partnership with Gleadells is proving a success as their closer eye on markets enables shrewder decisions to be made.

Their team, led by David Sheppard, has advised us on strategies to follow and regular liaison with Stuart Cooper fine tunes this advice so that the cash flow requirement is serviced.

The buying group that we are members of is restructuring which should give us the confidence to get more product through them taking advantage of their purchasing powers. Setting up a few email tenders will keep them on their toes.

Apart from vining peas where charlock escaped, weed control has been adequate, although late emergence of loose silky bent in the wheat still causes me concern.

The new actives on show at Cereals look promising for our grassweed spectrum and will be tried this autumn as IPU and trifluralin will sadly be applied for the last time.

The fungicide programme, based on TAG recommendations, has kept cereals very clean. Thicker crops have prevented the annual problem of late cleavers from coming through, and ear counts are about right.

Late sclerotinia in our oilseed rape is worrying as the disease generally does not trouble this farm. The value of a growth regulating triazole fungicide in spring also should be noted – even in low biomass varieties like Castille.

An informative visit to the Yorkshire Arable Marketing trials day again stirred my interest in the use of nutrition product Phosphite to promote cleaner and healthier crops.

Chris Rigley’s excellent plots demonstrated this vividly and I look forward to the harvest results. More efficient use of all plant nutrients must be high on everyone’s list of requirements for next season.