Andrew Keeler - Farmers Weekly

Subscribe and save

Farmers Weekly from £133
Saving £46
In print AND tablet

SUBSCRIBE NOW

sub_ad_img

Andrew Keeler

14 December 2001

Andrew Keeler

Andrew Keeler farms with

his parents at Church Farm,

Aylsham, Norfolk. Sugar

beet, potatoes, winter

wheat and premium malting

barley are grown on the

32ha (80-acre) farm

WE definitely do not want to see another spud for a few weeks. Like most potato stores in the area ours has suffered from tuber breakdown.

We were keeping an eye on the problem and in mid-November noticed that the stack had slumped in two places so we decided to sell the stock. Having decided on this course of action RBR Potatoes sent a bulker the same day and we set about the task.

To keep the sample as clean as possible, the entire store was forked into the grader by hand taking, on average, a day and a half to fill a bulker. As we approached the slumped sections quality fell and eventually we had to admit defeat and just shovel out the rotten spuds. These have been piled in the field and will be composted until after harvest next year. We have left about 10t of good potatoes at the back of the store and also have 16t in boxes that we will bag up in the New Year for our usual outlet.

The rots seem to be caused by the warm temperatures pre and post-harvest combined with wet conditions just before lifting and some blackleg. The sound potatoes at the back of the store were harvested before we were rained off by 25mm (1in) falling over two days.

Before the potato problems started, we finished harvesting the sugar beet and drilled the ground with wheat. Unfortunately, the trouble at the Wissington factory means beet has been diverted to our local factory here in Norfolk and our hauliers have had permits cancelled, putting us about two weeks behind with deliveries.

Spraying has also slipped behind schedule, because I have not been able to get the sprayer into the field. Hopefully, I will be able to get a second herbicide on barley, first weed control on wheat and insecticide on the oats soon.

Finally, I wish all a Happy Yuletide, New Year and better prospects for 2002. &#42

Andrew Keeler has been unable to get the sprayer in the field recently. But there has been plenty to do sorting out potatoes for early despatch.

    Read more on:
  • News

Andrew Keeler

16 November 2001

Andrew Keeler

Andrew Keeler farms with

his parents at Church Farm,

Aylsham, Norfolk. Sugar

beet, potatoes, winter

wheat and premium malting

barley are grown on the

32ha (80-acre) farm

THE last day in October hundreds of Norfolk farmers, including myself, visited Easton agricultural college for a Health and Safety day organised by the HSE and LANTRA.

Seven areas of safety, each dealing with a different subject, were dedicated 15 minutes each. When a horn sounded your group was escorted on to the next area. Now, 15 mins does not sound long but the folks from LANTRA sure packed a lot into the allotted time.

The fact that a shaft rotating at 1000 rpm will pull a body into it at over 3m/second (11ft/second) brought home the need for proper PTO covers. I am sure I was not the only one to have a look round the machinery and make some minor repairs when I returned home.

We finished harvesting potatoes on Oct 17 and started drilling Claire wheat the day after with the power-harrow/drill combo as the ground was ploughing up rather whole. The wheat was going into a good seed-bed at 185kg/ha (1.5cwt/acre) when, with three-quarters of the field set, it rained and we had to wait 10 days to finish off the field.

While we were waiting to finish the drilling we cleared another 100t of sugar beet which has been sent to the factory leaving us with about 100t to harvest. Provided that the sugars keep up we will comfortably fill our A and B quota.

The warm weather we had during October has seen the barley put on quite a bit of growth and I am left wondering if we could have used a lower seed rate. It has been sprayed against aphids and half of the herbicide applied. As we will need two aphid sprays splitting the herbicide will be no extra cost and should have been gentler on the tender plants. Ingot (IPU + flurtamone + diflufenican) has gone on and will be followed with some straight IPU. &#42

Did you know a 1000rpm PTO will pull you into a machine at over 3m/second? Andrew Keeler does after an HSE day in Norfolk.

    Read more on:
  • News

Andrew Keeler

19 October 2001

Andrew Keeler

Andrew Keeler farms with

his parents at Church Farm,

Aylsham, Norfolk. Sugar

beet, potatoes, winter

wheat and premium malting

barley are grown on the

32ha (80-acre) farm

OUR target date for the start of the potato harvest – Sept 24 – came and went without a single spud lifted.

Only on Oct 5 did ground conditions permit us to proceed and then we only managed a day and a half before 10mm (0.4in) in a matter of minutes brought operations to an abrupt halt. It was a week before we got back in.

The potatoes we have in store, all Desiree, so far look quite good with little scab and a good skin finish. We stone-pick the field at planting so we have decided to run the harvester without any people on board. But to keep a check that all is running smoothly we have invested in a closed-circuit television, mounted so that we can view the picking table and feed elevator from the cab. So far it has worked well and should pay for itself in the first year.

All the winter barley, again Maris Otter, has been drilled with our Minimat furrow-press drill, ploughing, pressing and drilling in one pass. It went into a good seed-bed at 146kg/ha (1.2cwt/acre) and the first shoots were through within a week. After the barley we moved on to setting the Gerald oats but could not use the Minimat because the ground was quite a bit wetter. The power-harrow combination drill was used instead, drilling at 157kg/ha (1.25cwt/acre).

Four loads of sugar beet have been harvested and delivered to the factory. Returns show we sent 96t of beet with an average sugar content of 16.5%, top tare of 9% and dirt tare 7%. On the whole the results were quite pleasing, the high top tare figure not unexpected as the large beet made setting the topper difficult. We had hoped the sugar content would be higher but at least we are on the right side of 16% and are getting added clean tonnage and not reductions. I have heard that some crops in the area are only mid-15% sugar. &#42

Winter barley and oats are drilled and four loads of beet have been lifted at Church Farm. "On the whole results are quite pleasing," says Andrew Keeler.

    Read more on:
  • News

Andrew Keeler

27 July 2001

Andrew Keeler

Andrew Keeler farms with

his parents at Church Farm,

Aylsham, Norfolk. Sugar

beet, potatoes, winter

wheat and premium malting

barley are grown on the

32ha (80 acre) farm

AFTER two weeks holiday it is noticeable how things have changed. Sugar beet has covered the ground – apart from a patch or two that flooded after heavy June rain – potatoes are meeting across the rows and flowering, barley is turning a nice shade of yellow and wheat has finished flowering.

Harvest preparations are complete, with the barn cleaned and checked for pests, combine made ready, trailers washed out and moisture meter MOTd, all of which has been recorded for ACCS purposes.

We hope to start cutting barley by the end of the month.

Aphids have built up in the potato canopy and we have had to use an insecticide with the latest blight spray over the whole crop. We have also taken precautions against cutworm following the dry spell at the end of June.

We have been doing test digs to find the right time to apply growth regulator to most of the crop. Given the late planting we were surprised at the size and quantity of tubers on each root.

There was an average of 12 over 25mm (the minimum size to apply growth regulator because tubers smaller than this will not grow once the crop has been treated). Some were already at saleable size.

Given these results, Source II (potassium salt of maleic hydrazide) was applied recently. We use the product to control sprouting in store and to help control volunteers in sugar beet.

Spraying gives you a good view over the whole crop, instead of the small snapshot seen on foot. At present it looks good.

At the start of the month we took advantage of the opening offer on nitrogen and bought next years requirements. This time we have ordered some with added sulphur for the first all-round application next spring. This year we are paying £109/t for both, last year it cost us £113/t for July delivery. &#42

    Read more on:
  • News
blog comments powered by Disqus