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William Hamilton

27 March 1998

William Hamilton

William Hamilton

William Hamilton is tenant

on the 205ha (506-acre)

Rosery Farm, Little

Stonham, Stowmarket,

Suffolk. Main crops are

winter wheat and oilseed

rape but he also grows

winter beans and

vining peas

SO WHAT has been happening at Stanham recently? Co-operative ventures seem to dominate our activities.

The remainder of last years rape crop has been collected and delivered to Erith in Kent for crushing. This parcel of rapeseed is being marketed for us by our local co-operative, Framlingham Farmers, which has an excellent track record in this field.

As crop selling prices have come under pressure, it is interesting to note that the tonnage of all combinable crops marketed for members has shown a substantial increase. A sign of the times we live in.

Another co-operative we belong to, Gipping Valley Growers, has made a start sowing this years vining peas at David Roes farm in the parish of Shelland, just west of Stowmarket. The variety Avola was sown under almost ideal conditions by John Forrests Vaderstad Rapide drill, towed by his Caterpillar Challenger rubber-tracked crawler.

The job was completed in one pass thus avoiding many wheel marks. As other pea growers will know the crop cannot tolerate compaction. Hence the policy of our group to use the Rapide wherever possible.

Back at home, during a recent crop inspection with our independent adviser Edmund Brown from Framlingham, patches of shepherds needle and areas of volunteer rape were spotted. These have now been dealt with by an application of Eagle (amidosulfuron). Our autumn control of blackgrass appears to be almost total – only time will tell.

Apart from spraying, Angus has spent most of his time away from base destoning land in the Thetford area. All was well until one morning his tractor came to a halt with a complete loss of hydraulic power caused by a broken coupling on the drive to the hydraulic pumps.

Fortunately this tractor, a New Holland 8360, is on hire from K Ripper Tractors of Halstead, Essex. They replaced it next morning with a similar machine. The hire was arranged by the Essex and Suffolk Machinery Ring, a third co-operative of which we are active members. &#42

All pull together – that is William Hamiltons message after co-operative ventures saw vining peas sown, grain sold well and a failed machine replaced swiftly earlier this month.

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William Hamilton

27 February 1998

William Hamilton

William Hamilton is tenant

on the 205ha (506-acre)

Rosery Farm, Little

Stonham, Stowmarket,

Suffolk. Main crops are

winter wheat and oilseed

rape but he also grows

winter beans and

vining peas.

SPRINGTIME must have arrived at Rosery Farm; we have top dressed the oilseed rape with sulphate of ammonia.

Like all our nitrogen, this was applied as a liquid. As it is only 8% N by weight, 600 litres/ha was required, but we actually applied 604 litres/ha.

Such precision is difficult to achieve using solid materials. It was the introduction of prilled ammonium nitrates in the 1960s that caused us to change to liquid nitrogen. None of the spreaders then was accurate enough to satisfy us. Even now, though some modern pneumatic machines approach these levels of efficiency, they cant exceed them.

Scorch is a drawback of liquids compared with solids, but new leaves soon grow to replace the scalded ones.

When Angus has been prevented from de-stoninq, and Cyril has been working at base, they have been overhauling some of our machinery. One job was to remove the straw chopper clutch, which failed at the end of harvest from our TX34 combine. Our local New Holland dealer, Bloomfields of Debenham, rebuilt this assembly using parts held in stock.

They tell me several clutches malfunctioned last year, due to tough straw. I suspect that also caused the drive shaft at the rear of the combine header to shear off one evening during harvest.

As farmers we need the Bloomfields of this world, just as they need our business. We depend on one another.

Our prize crop of Abbot wheat has been sprayed with Lexus Class (flupyrsulfuron-methyl + carfentrazone) to remove most of the broad-leaved weeds and the few remaining blackgrass plants that survived the autumn onslaught of Avadex (tri-allate) granules.

Only 60g/ha was applied. If my arithmetic is correct, that is less than 1oz/acre – whatever next? &#42

William Hamilton puts his trust in liquid fertiliser, even if it does mean a bit of scorch. The oilseed rape has had its spring-time sulphate of ammonia.

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William Hamilton

30 January 1998

William Hamilton

William Hamilton is tenant

on the 205ha (506-acre)

Rosery Farm, Little

Stonham, Stowmarket,

Suffolk. Main crops are

winter wheat and oilseed

rape but he also grows

winter beans and

vining peas.

NOT much news to report concerning our crop of Abbot wheat, where plants emerging from depth died off. Those which showed signs of regrowth seem to have come to a halt at the one-leaf stage.

A representative from the breeder came out last month to take some plant samples. I also gave him a sample of the left-over seed. I have since heard that the amount of seed dressing used was correct, and a further field inspection is due.

Angus has sprayed our seed crop of Savannah with a tank mix of dimethoate and chlorpyrifos to prevent wheat bulb fly attack. As this crop follows a crop of vining peas it seemed a wise precaution to take.

Still on the subject of wheat, half the quantity of Reaper due to be collected in December left the farm in early January. Shortage of shipping, Im told. As long as the cheque arrives on time, I do not mind.

The Reaper was exported from Ipswich docks only 12 miles away; we are fortunate to have that facility on our doorstep, which Im sure adds a welcome £1-2/t to our returns.

Every little bit helps at the moment. Luckily I only have 50t of wheat left to sell – most was placed last autumn.

For some time we have been searching for a replacement for our ageing (1985) Ford 6610 loader tractor. During a 598-mile dash round England one Saturday we found a suitable tractor in Lincolnshire. The deal done, the 1991 Ford 5610 has now arrived at Rosery Farm.

We were accompanied and assisted in our search by Frank Sherman, now officially retired, who spent almost 40 years selling Ford tractors and ancillary equipment to farmers in Suffolk. What Frank does not know about the subject could be written on the back of a postage stamp.

William Hamilton is happy to see the back of his wheat sold for export. Collection was delayed due to lack of shipping – Mr Hamilton hopes the cheque does not suffer the same fate.

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William Hamilton

2 January 1998

William Hamilton

William Hamilton is tenant

on the 205ha (506-acre)

Rosery Farm, Little

Stonham, Stowmarket,

Suffolk. Main crops are

winter wheat and oilseed

rape but he also grows

winter beans and

vining peas

A HAPPY and healthy New Year to one and all, although it does not promise to be a prosperous one at present.

Some of our feed wheat has now left the farm and Teddy has been busy drying the Charger which is due to be delivered this month. The wheat has been held in our wooden KKK silos since harvest and ventilated periodically to maintain its condition, although the moisture content has not come much below 16.5%.

Once we have dried the crop it will be blown into the galvanised bins outside the main grain store ready for loading as required.

On the subject of wheat, our field of Abbot beside the A140 Ipswich to Norwich trunk road is looking considerably greener than it was a month ago. Many of the plants I thought were dead have sprouted new green leaves. I shall never cease to be amazed by the power with which a wheat plant is endowed to recover from and compensate for adversity.

The representative from the breeding company inspected the crop, took samples and I await his diagnosis. Hopefully we will be able to avoid such pitfalls in the future.

Meanwhile, Teddys brother Cyril has spent much of his time helping a neighbour by carting sugar beet from field to clamp. After an area is harvested Cyril ploughs the land using our Fiat 160/90 tractor, which proceeds merrily along under adverse conditions with the diff-lock engaged.

Son Angus has also spent time away. He is de-stoning land for a local contractor friend, Sefton Brightwell, who has a deal to de-stone onion fields in the Thetford area prior to sowing. It is all grist for the mill at an otherwise slack time of year on our mainly combinable crop farm.

Sickly looking wheat alongside the A140 has thankfully perked up now, says Suffolk farmer William Hamilton. But the cause of the problem is a mystery, so a report from the breeder is awaited with interest.

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William Hamilton

5 December 1997

William Hamilton

William Hamilton is tenant

on the 205ha (506-acre)

Rosery Farm, Little

Stonham, Stowmarket,

Suffolk. Main crops are

winter wheat and oilseed

rape but he also grows

winter beans and

vining peas

So, whats been happening on the farm at Little Stonham during the last month?

On the oilseed rape front, Navajo and a few trial varieties have now been put to bed for the winter. They had a top dressing of nitrogen as none was applied in the seed-bed and my son, Angus, recently applied Kerb (propyzamide) to control volunteer cereals and blackgrass together with a fungicide.

All the winter wheats except late-sown Chablis have been treated with Avadex (tri-allate) granules to control wild oats and suppress blackgrass, our number one weed enemy.

Blackgrass resistance to IPU has been confirmed here, so we can no longer rely on IPU alone. The follow-up treatment has been a mixture of IPU with DFF and an insecticide to control BYDV.

One field of Abbot has been spared this application for the time being as it is looking decidedly jaded. Along the lines of the pre-drilling cultivation, where the seeds went in on the deep side, the plants have emerged but died off. The breeders are sending someone to inspect this crop, but naturally it is situated right beside the A120 trunk road for all to see!

Unusually we ploughed and pressed wheat stubble then went straight in with a Nordsten cultivator drill to establish winter beans this year. Only the headlands needed treating with the power harrow.

Last year we grew the variety Striker, which I was pleased with, until I heard about the yields of locally grown Target. So Target was our choice this autumn and as I write they are emerging – much to the delight of the local rooks.

Cyril has now ploughed land earmarked for vining peas next year. Due to the high value of sterling, and other factors, vining peas are our loss leader at the moment.

PS. Our IACS cheque arrived on November 21 – most welcome.n

An embarrassingly sad looking crop of Abbot milling wheat alongside the A120 on William Hamiltons farm has prompted checks by the breeder.

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William Hamilton

7 November 1997

William Hamilton

William Hamilton is tenant

on the 205ha (506-acre)

Rosery Farm, Little

Stonham, Stowmarket,

Suffolk. Main crops are

winter wheat and oilseed

rape but he also grows

winter beans and

vining peas.

WHAT have we have we been up to recently slap bang in the centre of Suffolk?

All the winter wheat is safely sown into good seed-beds. Some were on the dry side, but with recent rains everything has emerged except the Chablis, a spring variety, sown on Oct 20.

Other wheats this autumn are Abbot, Charger, Equinox and Savannah which will be our first experience with the last variety.

Nickersons have also supplied us with some Claire (WW10) to evaluate. It is aimed at the distilling and biscuit making markets.

The intention is to produce seed from the Abbot, Chablis, Equinox and half the Charger. But as other seed growers know, there can be many a slip between cup and lip! The remainder of the Charger is grown as an entry for oilseed rape. Both last year and this it was our first wheat to harvest and so let us plough the stubble in good time.

Charger fills the bill both as an early ripening variety and as a second straw crop. Soissons is even earlier to combine, but in my opinion is not really suitable as a second wheat.

All the fields for wheat this autumn were ploughed using a Dowdeswell and furrow pressed. Some were also furrow cracked. Where the wheat stubbles were too loose for the cracker to work properly, the next operation was rib-rolling before or after a pass with our Galucho Tilthmaster.

Some of the land required a second treatment with the Tilthmaster which produced a very level and firm seed-bed. This is the second year we have used this machine, but I have not yet puzzled out how such a simple piece of kit achieves such excellent results.

Our old power harrow has only been used to work down a few headlands this year. In a wet season we would have to return to using it and put up with the added expense.

All our wheat was sown with a MF 510 seed drill which we purchased secondhand last autumn. Recently I saw a similar machine sold for only £2,850 at a local dispersal sale. Somebody got a real bargain.

The Rosery Farm team…William Hamilton (centre), with (from left) Angus Hamilton, Nick Murdock, Cyril and Teddy Brown.

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