Steven Bumstead farms
148ha (365-acre) from
Ouse Bank Farm, Great
Barford, Beds. He is a first
generation farmer and
council tenant, growing
combinable crops on three
blocks of land. He supports
LEAF and is the FWAG
IHAVE finished drilling – wonders will never cease. Well, almost. Part of Memorial Field near Sandy is still under 10cm (4 in) of water and set-aside could be the only practical solution.
More forward Malacca and Option wheats have had 85 kg/ha of ammonium nitrate (70 units/acre). In mid-March, most had a spring roll to firm the plants in, encourage tillering, and crack over-wintered clods.
Spring spray programs so far consist of a tank-mix of 25g/ha of Ally (metsulfuron-methyl), 0.5-0.6 litres/ha of Starane (fluroxypyr) and 1 litre/ha of manganese sulphate. A couple of fields with bad blackgrass patches have had a 125ml/ha dose of Topik (clodinafop-propargyl) plus methylated rapeseed oil. The pgrs applied will be chlormequat or Cycocel (chlormequat + choline chloride) only.
My entire wheat area is split 46% Group 1 and 54% Group 2, all varieties that are in demand from the millers within 50 miles of my farms. I hope they can offer a decent premium above feed, assuming I can supply to the specifications they require. Perhaps I should talk to them. Maybe all farmers should become a lot closer to their customers. Time to resurrect the excellent Meet the Miller visits from a few years back. Can anybody help?
Rightly or wrongly, the NFU is taking a bit of a bashing from some fairly prominent arable farmers. I have mixed feelings on the issue. I know the regional staff at Newmarket work extremely hard for members and in many cases to the benefit of non-members, too.
However, at the top table level it is my opinion that it is the preserve of the chosen cliquey few and their mates. Ragamuffins such as me do not get a look in. That attitude extends to certain other committees of levy-funded organisations for which the NFU nominates candidates.
There is a huge pool of talent in our industry with many more than able, willing grassroots members. The NFU is ignoring them and it does so at its peril. *
Beds grower Steven Bumstead wants to "meet the miller". All his wheat is Group 1 and Group 2 this year.