Above average rainfall in January and what seems like a complete lack of sunshine in February means little spring drilling has been done to date.
However, at the time of writing, a start on the spring barley has been made and demonstrations of a Horsch and a Kockerling drill are taking place. Feedback on both drills will no doubt follow next month.
Our thoughts are now turning to T0 applications on wheat. Fungicide choice will be based on either Cherokee (chlorothalonil + cyproconazole + propiconazole) or straight chlorothalonil, depending on the rust rating of the variety. This will be combined with a growth regulator, usually a chlormequat sequence, which may also have a low rate of Moddus (trinexapac-ethyl) added to it where lodging is more of a risk.
Fungicide prices I have seen so far indicate only a small increase; let’s hope we don’t have supply problems like we have experienced in the past. Apparently, for the new chemistry to be cost-effective, it needs to be priced in the mid-£30 a litre bracket and at the moment, prices indicate it is about £35 a litre.
The Campaign for the Farmed Environment is attracting more interest lately after the comments made by Jim Paice. No one likes to be threatened, and some of it is political bluster. However, the threat of set-aside returning is very real so complacency is not an option. Many of us have areas of ground such as odd field corners that we don’t crop. Just take a few minutes to add it all up and then put it on the website, it could be time well spent.
Finally, remember what the price of wheat was this time last year and how much your fuel and fertiliser is going to cost. It’s a sobering thought.
farmer focus arable:simonbeddows