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WALES

25 August 1995

WALES

SPECIALIST arable farmers reckon winter wheats are unlikely to ever outperform this years results.

Benefiting from marginally more moisture than the east, they have harvested about 0.62t/ha (0.25t/acre) more grain than average, with very high specific weight. Most growers have also avoided drying costs of about £6/t.

Sample weighings suggest David Williams of Upper Womaston, Presteigne, harvested his "highest ever" 9.67t/ha (3.85t/acre) of wheat from Hunter and Brigadier after potatoes. Brigadiers "outstanding" result raised the average by 7-8%.

Mr Williamss Gaelic and Fighter winter barleys did "a reasonably good" 7.5t/ha (3t/acre), with a good sample and no drying.

As he hurried to finish winter wheat before showers forecast for today (Friday), barometer farmer Meurig Raymond anticipated an average yield well over 10t/ha (4t/acre).

"We are getting excellent yields of up to 11.68t/ha (4.65t/acre) from a few fields," he says. "It is a lovely sample, with a specific weight of 80kg/hl, and we are baling 5t/ha – 2 t/acre – of good quality straw."

But expectations are lower for spring oilseed rape. Having swathed at Trenewydd Fawr and several neighbouring units, he knows the crop has suffered badly from the drought. Low yields are expected.

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wales

11 August 1995

wales

REDUCED drying costs will figure prominently when Welsh growers do their post-harvest sums.

"It has to have been one of the best harvests ever," says Bryn Rees, Creampots, Broad Haven, Dyfed. "Our winter barley averaged 6.9t/ha (2.75t/acre), and spring barley 5.6t/ha (2.25t/acre). Winter wheat will be ready to combine by the weekend, at least three weeks earlier than usual."

Winter wheats are senescing fast on barometer farmer Meurig Raymonds Dyfed farm, and should be ready next week – a good 10 days earlier than expected a month ago.

Chariot spring malting barley has yielded 6.3t/ha (2.5t/acre). Specific weight is an "excellent" 70kg/hl.

A thunderstorm delayed winter rape combining, but brought a yield bonus when moisture level increased from 6% to 9%. Overall output averaged 4.14t/ha (1.65t/acre), but ranged between 3.7t/ha and 4.4t/ha.

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WALES

4 August 1995

WALES

COMBINING was stalled by rain on many Welsh farms over the weekend, but the impact was variable.

With harvesting ahead of schedule, and the majority of showers light, the rain caused little more than a hiccup. But it was a different story along the Wales/England border, where scattered thunderstorms brought very heavy rain.

At Upper Womaston, Walton, Presteign, Powys, David Williams recorded 18mm (0.7in). Fortunately he managed to finish 10ha (25 acres) of winter barley before the deluge, but the straw was unbaled. "It will need turning at least once, and quality is sure to suffer."

Barometer farmer Meurig Raymond saw only light rain, and was able to finish the winter barley. Overall it averaged 8.2t/ha (3.25t/acre), but Pastoral and Gaelic out-yielded Intro and Epic by about 1.3t/ha (0.5t/acre).

He also combined some Halcyon winter malting barley for a neighbour. This gave 6.3t/ha (2.5t/acre) of excellent quality with a specific weight of 70kg/hl.

The rain just dampened swathed winter oilseed rape, which was due to be picked up from midweek.

In an exceptional season there seems little to choose between Apex, Rocket, Alaska, Express or Falcon. All promise to yield very well, he says.

If the weather holds, his first spring barley could be ready this weekend. And sunshine is accelerating filling and ripening of winter wheats, which could be ready to produce first-class yields in 10 days.

But Mr Raymond remains concerned about reduced straw production from drought-affected spring barley, and an anticipated poor performance from spring oilseed rape.

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WALES

28 July 1995

WALES

BAROMETER grower Meurig Raymond is delighted with the yield and sample quality from the first 81ha (200 acres) of Pastoral and Intro winter barley.

"The yield is slightly up on last year, averaging between 3.25 and 3.5t/acre, bushel weight is 66kg/hl and there is a tremendous amount of good quality straw," says Mr Raymond.

"Despite the dry conditions we have been combining at around 17% and we had to stop work on Epic because it was not as ready as it seemed. But this and the Gaelic should be harvested over the next week."

Conditions for drying the excellent crop of winter oilseed rape lying in the swath are almost perfect and the heavily podded crop will be ready for picking up very soon.

"The winter wheats are looking very well indeed, though they will not be ready for another three weeks. Spring barleys are ripening faster than they should and have very short straw. Other farmers I met at the Royal Welsh Show were also very pleased with the yield and quality of winter barley."

During his show visit Mr Raymond lobbied new Welsh Secretary William Hague about the lower arable area aid payments received by Welsh growers.

"He listened and appeared to be willing to discuss the problem. So I invited him down to my county to hear more and even try driving a combine."

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WALES

21 July 1995

WALES

BAROMETER farmer Meurig Raymond is very upbeat about harvest prospects.

More than half his Apex, Alaska and Express winter oilseed rape has been swathed and should be ready to lift late next week. "There is plenty of vegetation and pods – the crop looks very promising indeed."

Unfortunately drought has hit spring oilseed rape and spring barleys at Trenewydd Fawr, Croesgoch, Dyfed, with short-strawed barleys suffering most.

Winter wheat cutting is unlikely before Aug 25 but Mr Raymond anticipates higher than average yields. "We desperately needed rain. If it had not arrived this week it would have been better to have a drought and use the saving on drying costs to offset lower yields," he says.

Winter barley also looks good and the combine will start work this weekend, weather permitting.

As NFU cereals committee delegate Mr Meurig regularly speaks to other Welsh growers. Many report premature senescence in light land winter wheat and forecast drought-hit yields.

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WALES

19 May 1995

WALES

IF THE weather had stayed dry, Meurig Raymond would have been tempted to delay the second fungicide spray on his winter wheat at Trenewydd Fawr, Croesgoch, near St Davids. But recent rain will bring the programme back to the more normal flag-leaf emergence timing, despite a notable absence of disease.

"We have had some septoria low down." But the full-rate Sportak Delta (cyproconazole + prochloraz) at GS31 (first node) about three weeks ago should keep the crop clean until the next treatment, he believes. Leaving the next application until full ear emergence is too risky in the farms generally wet climate. "We will make a decision at the time and probably go for a half-rate Folicur as we did last year."

Winter barley was expected to receive its second spray this week after an earlier full-rate Punch C (carbendazim + flusilazole). But unusually the Terpal (ethephon) regulator is being cut to half rate.

"We normally use full rate but the crop is shorter this year because of the wet winter. It looked quite bad until May."

A small area of Chariot spring barley has had a half-rate dose of Carbate (carbendazim) to keep rhynchosporium in check.

Oilseed rape, which "looks remarkable" after the wet winter, will shortly be getting its full-rate Ronilan (vinclozolin) treatment "as a matter of course" – the tight rotation demands no risks be taken with sclerotinia, explains Mr Raymond.

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WALES

28 April 1995

WALES

DRY weather breaking a long wet spell up to early March pleased Meurig Raymond at Trenewydd Fawr, Croesgoch, near St Davids.

"I am far happier now than I was six weeks ago," he says. Even so, cereal growth remains "mixed". Wheats are "moving quite nicely" and look promising, with Hussar and Hunter outstripping Beaver and Brigadier. But late-sown barleys are "very slow", tillering well but staying close to the ground.

Winter oilseed rape is also variable, with some backward crops due to poor establishment on certain soil types. But spring barley, drilled into moisture on Mar 10 – 10 days later than normal – has "grown incredibly".

Flax, linseed and spring rape went in during the first days of April, with a few subsequent showers welcome to ease the surface crust. "Now it just needs to warm up," says Mr Raymond.

Wheats have had Sportak (prochloraz) against septoria and eyespot. "We cant afford the risk of not spraying." Barley rhynchosporium has been cleaned up with Punch C (carbendazim + flusilazole).

Main work at the moment is finishing off top dressings, with wheats getting a total of 210kg/ha (170 units/acre) of nitrogen.

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