2 April 1999

Beet tramline change will bring savings

A CHANGE in sugar beet tramlining at Elms Farm will bring further savings this year.

The technique saves marking out, eases top-dressing and pre-emergence spraying, explains Mr Wright.

"We have used it for two years but we have made the tramlines ourselves after drilling by running down the rows."

This spring contractor G R Ward has used a new Monosem 12-row drill equipped to shut off the relevant tramline rows and leave a more prominent mark in the soil to guide subsequent operations.

"The main advantage is that we are reducing our seed costs by avoiding wastage in those two rows."

Already tractor driver Kevin Chilvers has remarked on how much easier the new tramlines are to follow when applying the first 60kg/ha (48 units/acre) of nitrogen straight after sowing.

Ironically pre-emergence herbicide on the home farm has been dropped this spring. "Thats a first for us," says Mr Wright. "We have usually used Takron (chloridazon). But I have been a bit cautious because there is always a possibility of crop damage with pre-ems.

"Now we have only 23ha here and it is close by, so we should be able to cope with post-emergence treatments only. The 13ha 20 miles away on non-IACS land at Riseholme College will still get a pre-emergence spray.

One concern on the off-lying land was that after two years of maize, atrazine residue might harm the beet. "But I have written assurance from Novartis that it wont," says Mr Wright. &#42