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James Moldon

28 January 2000

James Moldon

James Moldon manages the

220ha (550 acres) heavy

land Stanaway Farm, Otley,

Suffolk, for the Felix

Thornley Cobbold

Agricultural Trust.

Crops include winter wheat,

barley, OSR, beans, linseed

and sugar beet

WET January mornings seem to make even the simplest of tasks that much harder.

Again we are having a mild winter and I know it is tempting fate but hard frosts are few and far between. More is the pity in some ways, as we do all our hedge trimming at this time of year. The aim is to cut hedges once their nesting value and food supply has been exhausted but we rely on hard frosts to travel around headlands. This is proving a sticky problem.

The mild weather early in the month encouraged more slug activity and recent frosts have been insufficient to drive them underground. However, I am reluctant to apply more slug pellets while night temperatures are dropping close to or below freezing.

Our stored sugar beet has been moved without any real problems. One hot-spot detected turned out to be due to some feed bins next to the clamp limiting ventilation. As soon as they were moved temperatures stabilised. Despite that, sugar content at 17.6% has hardly changed after eight weeks of storage. Overall yield on the Madison is slightly down on last year.

Autumn spraying was finished on the frost around Christmas and New Year. Oilseed rape received 0.5 litres/ha of Fusilade 250 (fluazifop-P-butyl) to knock out the volunteer cereals and black grass, followed by a separate application of Fortrol at 1 litre/ha to control charlock and chickweed that was competing with the backward rape plants.

We are drawing up budgets for next year and it is worrying how frequently we are now having to put wheat in the rotation. We will definitely be growing more second wheats and the future may lead to third and even continuous wheats. The break crops, oilseed rape and beans in our case, must still be grown even though financially they are inferior to wheats. Soil fertility would suffer without them, but weed management is equally important with the risk of resistant blackgrass. &#42

Suffolk grower James Moldon has been drawing up next years budget. It is worrying how often wheat will be grown, he says.

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James Moldon

18 June 1999

Leonard Morris

Leonard Morris is tenant at

206ha (510 acre) White

House Farm, South Kyme

Fen, Lincoln. His heavy land

grows winter wheat and

oilseed rape and spring peas

and linseed. Lighter ground is

cropped with potatoes,

spring rape and linseed

AFTER two weeks without rain in the second half of May, crops around here started showing signs of stress, just proving how shallow rooted they are after so much rain earlier in the year.

Fortunately, the problem was soon corrected with 64mm of rain in the following 10 days. The downside was that most of it arrived in thunderstorms, which lodged our conventional oilseed rape very badly, along with a lot of other rape in the area. Our hybrid rape, which is standing a lot better, is now very obvious.

Patches of wheat had also started to lodge where the fertiliser spreader overlapped on the headlands. But I have now managed to catch up with most of the urgent spraying, including pgr sprays. That is despite wind causing problems when it is not raining – Thursdays and Saturdays seem to be the best spray days this year!

All the linseed has had Ally (metsulfuron-methyl), using 20g/ha on the heavy land and 30g/ha on the light land where the weeds were more numerous and more advanced. Enhance at 40ml/ha was added as a wetter.

The spring wheat was sprayed at GS 30/31 with 20g/ha of Ally, 1l/ha of Duplosan (mecoprop-P) and 1l/ha of Chlormequat (chlormequat). That was followed with manganese and sulphur.

Rialto had 1.0l/ha Terpal (2-chloroethylphosphonic acid + mepiquat chloride) plus 40ml/h of Enhance at GS 37/38 to help keep it standing – it is looking very promising at present.

All the winter wheat has received a flag leaf/ear emergence fungicide spray of 0.8 l/ha Amistar (azoxystrobin) with 0.3 l/ha Folicur (tebuconazole). This was followed by the spring wheat receiving 0.5 l/ha Amistar and 0.3 l/ha of Folicur at GS 32.

We now need some sunny warm weather so crops can fulfil their potential. Temperatures of 28C one day followed by 17C the next are not very helpful. Roaring log fires at the beginning of June, whatever next? &#42

Bill Harbour

Bill Harbour is manager for

Gosmere Farm Partners at

448ha (1107 acre) Gosmere

Farm, Sheldwich, Faversham,

Kent. Crops include wheat,

barley, oilseed rape, peas

and beans plus

cherries under the

Countryside Stewardship


EARWASH spraying has started on Malacca winter wheat, using 0.3l/ha Amistar (azoxystrobin) and 0.25l/ha Folicur (tebuconazole). All the milling wheat and any seed will have this treatment, as will the best of the feed wheats. The thinner stands will be treated according to the weather at flowering.

The T2 flag spray did a good job – ranging from Landmark (kresoxim-methyl + epoxiconazole) on the best wheat through Amistar/Folicur to just Folicur.

The peas are in flower and will have a fungicide and insecticide any time. I have only caught 13 pea moths to date, but expect they will fly better if it gets warmer. Of the 68ha (168 acres) only 13ha (32 acres) have needed over-spraying with 3l/ha Pulsar (bentazone + MCPB) and 0.3l/ha Fortrol (cyanazine).

Superol hybrid spring oilseed rape sown on Mar 20 was in full flower by Jun 1, the only input to date having been 0.1l/ha Hallmark (lambda-cyhalothrin) and fertiliser, costing £136/ha (£55/acre). By contrast Pronto winter hybrid rape cost the same for seed, but more in inputs at £238/ha (£96/acre).

A neighbours spring rape did 3.7t/ha (30 cwt/acre) last year, so without the rush to sow in August and a winters war on pigeons the crop does look interesting.

One repercussion of the current low rapeseed prices is that a lot of follow-up sprays did not go on this spring. East Kent is now ablaze with red fields – rather pretty.

On the late N for protein in wheat I have had a change of mind. It will, after all, be liquid again this year. I think it does work better than solid and I have the use of a large bowser, which is easier than lots of IBCs with the hassle of deposits and sending them back.

Our trial plots look interesting, with continental wheats Isengrain and Soissons side by side. Soissons had a large following in the south, but seems to have run out of steam lately. Cockpit hybrid wheat had rust early – it will clearly need a bit of care. &#42

Mike Cumming

Mike Cumming is manager at

Lour Farms, Ladenford,

Forfar, Angus, where spring

malting barley and seed

potatoes occupy about half

the 749ha (1850 acres).

Other crops include winter

wheat, barley and oats,

oilseed rape, swedes and


IN keeping with the region in general the crops at Lour look well, with the best of our spring barley crops being the ones drilled behind the plough in late March.

Any heavier land ploughed in February dried out like concrete, with the crop established thereafter looking very pale. The recent warm but damp spell has helped those fields, which are now looking much better with their colour restored.

But the damp/warm weather has also created a headache in the form of rhynchosporium. Optic is suffering worst, with net blotch and mildew, too, making the variety a pig to keep clean.

A stem extension mix consisting of 0.15 litres/ha Fortress (quinoxyfen), 0.17 litres/ha DUK 747 (flusilazole) and 0.15 litres/ha Torch (spiroxamine) is tackling the problem.

I will go back through with a strob at flag leaf, possibly Mantra (epoxiconazole + fenpropimorph + kresoxim-methyl). Although there is evidence of early rhyncho on Chariot, I am hoping 0.5 litres/ha Bravocarb (carbendazim + chlorothalonil) plus 0.2 litres/ha DUK 747 applied recently will hold things until flag.

In order to secure a future here Optic will have to demonstrate an economic advantage when measured against Chariot by delivering higher yields. With the extra cost of disease control and barley prices at an all time low, the yield differential may have to be in the region of 0.75t/ha (0.3t/acre). Time will tell.

No wheat on the farm has yet had a T2 spray, although it is planned for this week (June 14-20). The Landmark ( kresoxim-methyl + epoxiconazole) applied at T1 has kept the crop very clean, with no disease to speak of. That being so, my T2 treatment will consist of 0.4 litres/ha Landmark along with 0.75 litres/ha Terpal (2-chloroethylphosphonic acid + mepiquat chloride).

In about six weeks our grieve, Gordon Morrison, sadly retires after 33 years of dedicated service at Lour. Within two years, two of his colleagues follow suit. While the present recruitment process will hopefully yield new ideas and enthusiasm, it has brought with it a strong feeling of appreciation for those I trust but am about to leave. &#42

James Moldon

James Moldon manages the

220ha (550 acres) heavy

land Stanaway Farm, Otley,

Suffolk, for the Felix Thornley

Cobbold Agricultural Trust.

Crops include winter wheat,

barley, OSR, beans, linseed

and sugar beet

HARVEST is now starting to loom and machinery maintenance is continuing apace – even though it only feels like five minutes since all the kit was being cleaned ready for winter!

We have also completed the spray wash down area. A 9.1m (30ft) bunded area has been constructed, which is connected to our Sentinel purifying system. The groundwater regulations seem to become ever more stringent, with very little lee-way. Keeping up with them seems the only answer.

Admittedly, the Sentinel is not a cheap system to install and it is likely to be superseded by cheaper alternative systems like the bio-bed. But it does provide a very environmentally friendly way of purifying contaminated water.

Meanwhile, fields have benefited from recent heavy rains which should provide sufficient moisture to last until harvest. Sugar beet is finally starting to meet in the rows and a second herbicide has been applied at 6-8 leaves to control ever increasing amounts of blackgrass and volunteer oilseed rape. A concoction of 0.6l/ha of Fusilade 250 (fluazifop-P-butyl), 20g/ha of Debut (triflusulfuron-methyl), 0.05ml of non-ionic wetter and 1l/ha of mineral oil should sort it out.

Wheat ears were fully emerged by the end of last week. A mix of 250ml/ha of Amistar (azoxystrobin), 250ml/ha of mbc and 250ml/ha of Folicur (tebuconazole) as an ear wash on all wheats to control further developments of fusarium and yellow rust.

Monitoring for wheat blossom midge continues when conditions are suitable. The milling wheats will receive 100ml/ha of Hallmark (lamda-cyhalothrin) with the ear wash, but threshold levels have not been reached for the feed wheats.

Congratulations to Barry on receiving his long-term service award at the Suffolk show for 30 years at Stanaway Farm. Although he is still a mere boy, Im his eighth manager, and its full credit that he remains so enthusiastic and positive about farming. &#42

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James Moldon

6 November 1998

James Moldon

New Farmer Focus writer James Moldon in Suffolk was pleased with early beet yields of 45t/ha at 17.5% sugar in September. Now wet conditions are a worry, with the rest of the crop due for lifting this week.

James Moldon manages the

220ha (550 acres) heavy

land Stanaway Farm, Otley,

Suffolk, for the Felix

Thornley Cobbold

Agricultural Trust.

Crops include winter wheat,

barley, OSR, beans, linseed

and sugar beet

PLANTING oilseed rape started on the combine this year, with a new broadcaster system. Apex applied at 3-6kg/ha (2.7-5.3 lb/acre) mixed with 3kg/ha (2.7 lb/acre) Draza (methiocarb) and we have experimented with Apex broadcast into wheat prior to harvesting. Both were rolled immediately after sowing and again after the first rain, and look very promising so far. Conventionally established crops will provide a comparison.

We started drilling first wheats at 110kg/ha (0.9cwt/acre) on Sept 2, and finished Oct 12 at 160kg/ha (1.3cwt/acre) of Charger. All looks well apart from volunteer oilseed rape, so next year we hope to cut the seed rates even further.

Having Morley Research Centre trials on the farm helps us make varietal choices. Charger and Malacca are our second wheats this autumn, chosen for their ability to give high yields at later sowing dates. Despite rain delays, we finished drilling these on Oct 20, bar some Charger to be drilled after sugar beet lifting this week.

That is something of a concern, as we will have to lift it despite the wet condition of our heavy clay soils. The wheat drilling may have to wait for a frost.

My morning ritual of being blown off my feet as I walk straight past the sprayer continues. Only the weeds are benefiting from these conditions.

Oilseed rape is due 0.25 litres/ha of Plover (difenconazole) to tackle phoma, with 1.25kg/ha of Kerb (propyzamide) mixed in on our weediest crops.

First and second wheats will get 12kg/ha and 15kg/ha of Avadex 15G (triallate) respectively, followed by a tank mix of 3 litres/ha ipu plus 2 litres/ha trifluralin. Blackgrass, wild oats and brome are our main targets here.

Vast numbers of slugs have been sent to slug heaven with repeated doses of Draza and mini-pellets (metaldehyde), and all crops now seem to be growing well. By the time you read this hopefully winter beans will be too, if we can get on the land to drill!

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