MARCH HAS slipped by. Early in the month we applied ammonium nitrate to all the winter crops and now have started to go round again with 500 litres/ha of ammonium sulphate liquid. Because it”s dilute – 8%N, 9%S – it”s a slow job applying 50kg N/ha and 55kg S/ha. But the N is the cheapest form available and the S is free. The crops are starting to do some serious growing in the warmer conditions but the later sown wheats have a lot to do if they are going to achieve respectable yields.

After a lot of soul searching we have spent about 12,000 upgrading our clapped out Pearson Megastar destoner with a well used but tidy Actiflow model. Contract destoning has started on some very light land for carrots and the design advances on this machine are a big improvement. Hopefully it will do the job for many years to come.

Details have arrived regarding Land Management Contracts, which according to the Scottish Executive document will lead to a “sustainable prosperous agriculture”. The LMC concept has three tiers. Tier one involves the single farm payment. Tier two is a menu scheme that gives applicants a chance to add to the single farm payment by carrying out various options. Each unit can claim up to a maximum figure based on the total area declared on the IACS forms. Tier three is under development for 2007.

The maximum we can claim is about 3500, with options on the menu ranging from 1135 for having an animal health and welfare programme to 50 for doing off-farm talks. With a total of 17 different options, I haven”t gone through all the details yet but hopefully we will be able to find enough to get close to the maximum.

cornceres@btinternet.com