Archive Article: 1998/10/23 - Farmers Weekly

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Archive Article: 1998/10/23

23 October 1998

Smiles all round… John Bruce (right) collected the Simmental championship at Perth on Tuesday with Balmanno Hitman. It was the Bridge of Earn farms first Perth champion. The same day saw Limousins reach 7500gns, with nearly 100 averaging £2760. "A decent result in these difficult times," said the auctioneers.

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Archive Article: 1998/10/23

23 October 1998

Celebrating another success…….Gilly Johnson of FWs sister magazine Crops scooped the top prize in the environment section of awards organised by the Guild of Agricultural Journalists and sponsored by fertiliser firm Hydro Agri. Gillys article, "Green Links Gain Ground", was praised by the judges for its "refreshingly new thinking on the practical integration of aid payments and preservation of the countryside to everyones benefit".

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Archive Article: 1998/10/23

23 October 1998

Weaning by splitting cows and calves with an electric wire has been successful for 20 years. John Massey, of Hill Farm, Chillesford, Woodbridge, Suffolk, says calves suffer no growth check or pneumonia and settle after a few days. February-born suckler calves from the 70-cow herd are offered creep feed for a month before weaning to ease the transition.

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Archive Article: 1998/10/23

23 October 1998

Whats good for the goose… Mike Prettejohn had his hands full at last weeks Goose Fair at Tavistock, where his birds made £16.50 apiece.

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Archive Article: 1998/10/23

23 October 1998

Keep beet sweet with this new kit for monitoring clamp temperatures. By comparing the temperature inside the clamp with the air temperature outside it warns growers when potentially damaging variations occur. Kits cost £275 each by mail order from British Sugar Co-Products (01904-528262).

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Archive Article: 1998/10/23

23 October 1998

Brian Lock

Brian Lock farms rented and

owned land in Dorset,

including 200ha (500

acres) at Silverlake Farm,

Sherborne. Cropping

includes wheat and barley

for feed, seed and malting markets plus oilseed rape

and herbage seed

I am relieved to report that after a slow start we are well into autumn cereal sowing. It has been very catchy, but all the winter barley is sown and over half the winter wheat. All went in remarkably well. We have been able to harrow headlands and roll everything.

C2 Maris Otter for malting was sown at 135kg/ha (120lb/acre), C1 Otter for seed at 140kg/ha (125lb/acre). C1 Clare winter wheat for seed went in at what for us is a low rate of 135kg/ha, but this was all the seed we could get.

Our main wheat Consort with a thousand grain weight of 56g is at 210kg/ha (188lb/acre) to give 375 seeds/sq m.

We apply Avadex (tri-allate) granules at 15kg/ha on all headlands at 12m width to control sterile brome where we know we have a problem.

Herbage seeds are establishing very slowly and slugs have been rampant. Each field had 7kg/ha of metaldehyde immediately after sowing and we have had to use the same again on most crops.

One Molisto field has been hard hit and may not survive. Its neighbour sown the same day in more favourable soil is already being grazed by store lambs. I hope to get permission to keep one of our 1998 fields for a second harvest year, subject to volunteer seedling inspection, to compensate for this possible loss.

The darkest hour is just before the dawn. Have we, perhaps, on the arable and milk side of our industry seen this? As autumn crops show green, is there perhaps a sign of a recovery? Sterling has weakened, interest rates have moved down, albeit modestly, and the grain price may even improve.

Lets hope it isnt a false dawn. As a sheep farmer taking on another farm on a short-term farm business tenancy, I am well aware of the acute problems in that sector. As my agronomist said: "You must be a glutton for punishment!"

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Archive Article: 1998/10/23

23 October 1998

Justin Blackwood

Justin Blackwood farms

562ha (1389 acres) from

Grange Farm, Great

Brington, Northants, on a

range of farming

agreements. Cropping

hinges around winter wheat,

plus winter barley, rape,

peas, oats and occasionally

linseed

YET again we are held up by the weather. But this year, more than any, I need to finish autumn work early.

Towards the end of September it looked as though we would be drilled up by the first week of October. But here we are in the second half of October and still have 200ha (500 acres) of wheat to drill.

On a brighter note we have 182ha (450 acres) of oilseed rape well established with weeds well controlled by Butisan S (metazachlor) and trifluralin applied pre-emergence at 1 and 2litres/ha respectively.

That was followed by Pilot (quizalofop-ethyl) at 90ml/ha with adjuvant oil and cypermethrin at 250ml/ha in 100litres/ha of water applied by AirTec to control winter barley volunteers.

For wheat volunteers I prefer Fusilade 250 (fluazifop-P-butyl) at 200-250ml/ha depending on the size of the volunteers.

On the most advanced crops, I have found the first signs of phoma leaf spot. Weather conditions have been ideal for its development and we shall spray at the end October or early November to reduce disease levels.

Previously we have used Punch C (carbendazim + flusilazole) at 333ml/ha. This year we will do part with Plover (difenoconazole) at 200-250ml/ha plus carbendazim at 250ml to compare results.

Like everyone else, we have been looking hard at reducing costs still further and begun to make some important decisions. We must cut both labour and machinery costs still further. To this end we are looking at operating a much larger tractor to pull a disc, press and roll combination for any deeper soil movement required.

We still have to decide whether to stick with our existing drilling equipment or change to an expensive cultivator/single pass drill. I will have plenty of time to think this one through as I am off on a six-week drive from London to Cape Town at the end of the month. Hence my impatience to finish the autumn work.

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Archive Article: 1998/10/23

23 October 1998

Simon Wadlow

Simon Wadlow farms 200ha

(500 acres) at The Croft,

near Bridgnorth, Shropshire.

Key crops are winter wheat

and sugar beet, plus winter

oats, barley, oilseed rape

and beans. Forage maize,

set-aside and pasture make

up the balance

WHAT a difference a month makes! Within two days of writing last months diary we had the winter beans safely in the barn.

But, as suspected, yield was very poor at 3.1t/ha (1.25t/acre). At only £70/t, even allowing for area payment, that is disastrous. I have beans again, but for how much longer I am not sure. Having checked thousand grain weight I am reducing seed rate to 100kg/ha (89lb/acre) to avoid the high plant population I had this year.

Wheat sowing began in late September. Consort went in after oilseed rape and a three-week slug battle started. Despite a well-consolidated seed-bed, up to three applications of various pellets have been needed for control.

Consort after beans and sugar beet accounts for nearly half our wheat area. With Aintree oats and Regina barley completed, we started drilling Abbott recently. If the weather holds, we should soon have only Charger, after sugar beet, and beans still to sow.

The first beet, Madison, was lifted by six-row tanker harvester and delivered within five days. Before the advent of six-row tanker harvesters I would have considered the field too heavy for beet. It was not sown until May 5 and due to soil type needed lifting while conditions were good. So I was reasonably pleased with an adjusted yield of 37t/ha (15t/acre), considering the sugar content was only 16.3%.

Last night I went to an NFU meeting about the new working time directive which fills me with horror. I know we can opt out of the 48hr week, but we must comply with rules concerning rest periods. In a difficult year like this, our farm work has only been done because my staff are prepared, and I hope happy, to work when weather permits.

The cost implications of compulsory rest periods and time off in lieu, are horrendous, not to mention the extra record keeping. If a piece of legislation was drafted to stifle enterprise, this is it.

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Archive Article: 1998/10/23

23 October 1998

Pret a Manger, one of the premier names in the fast food business, has added "steak and chips" to its range of sandwich fillings, using beef from the Specially Selected brand promoted by the Scotch Quality Beef & Lamb Association at the rate of 1t/week. "Rare topside of Specially Selected Scotch Beef on granary bread and served with roasted tomatoes, mixed lettuce, horseradish mayonnaise and Pret A Managers own brand crisps," is how the menu describes the sandwiches which are sampled here by (l to r) Vic Prow of SQBLA, head chef Paul Grant, meat supplier

George Watson, and Sara Jenkins of Pret A Manger.

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Archive Article: 1998/10/23

23 October 1998

PART of this summers escape from the kitchen scheme was spent with my brother Johnny in Milton Keynes, where he lives in his new flat. I was alone all day while he was at work and it was a totally new experience for me.

To begin with I was drooling over his

compact and

completed kitchen, of course, and spent my time wiping down the lovely, empty work tops and making the sink shine. It didnt take five minutes to wash the floor – he told me not to bother doing anything, to just relax and enjoy the free time but the strange thing was having the free time to wipe down the surfaces.

Such a difference from our mad house here where everything is covered with something. Our kitchen isnt small, but theres never enough room. Theres stuff on the table, the sideboard, the worktops. Its a marathon of organisation to get to the point where I can just wipe down a surface – consequently it rarely happens.

I didnt have to clean his flat, it didnt need it but I wanted to because it was so easy to do. What is it about us women that we behave this way!

Its a typical bachelor flat (after a long marriage, sadly my brother and sister-in-law are no longer together) and I couldnt help myself. I had to buy something to put on the empty work tops, a little plant, not a big one. I know he wont water it; a utensil pot in just the shade Id like at home; a little bowl for the sink (same colour). Oh! And a mirror for the bathroom. Despite seeing no one I cant do without my mascara in the morning!

I could please myself what I did. No reps, no deliveries, no silage men to feed, no phone calls, no standing in gaps, no walking dogs (Tim says thats a joke), no kitchen full of people, no

bustle, no wellies, no mess – a different world.

Plenty of time, so what to do? Then I found the Christmas present we bought him last year. He said he hadnt bought much for the flat – true – and was short of cupboards, so we bought him a flat pack cupboard for the hall. It was still in its box.

Were very much alike, we need pushing to get on with things, Johnny is now without a pusher, so, with nothing else to do, and with the aid of nephew Bryans cordless Black and Decker, I discovered a new world. It took me a morning to work out what was what and where it went. Im no DIY buff, but once I got the hang of the tool I really enjoyed myself. What a sense of achievement – and Johnny was pleased.

Back home now, and were nearly finished, but there are pictures to hang, and hooks for the overalls, and the towel rail to go up and Tim doesnt want pushing when he gets in at night cold, wet, and tired. So Ive bought a little cordless drill and Ive sawn off a piece of wood to screw hooks on. Now Im off to look for rawl plugs before his nibs comes home cold and wet, and I feel like a new woman.

Thank you, Johnny!

Having time on her hands while in England this summer was a fresh experience for Chrissie Green but she put it to good use – and now reaps the benefit.

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