This year’s Cereals event at Leadenham, Lincolnshire will be hosted by Andrew Ward, who farms 650ha (1600acres) at Glebe Farm, Leadenham.
Cereals was held on the Leadenham site four years ago and Andrew says he is pleased to be hosting the event again. Although there is little financial gain from doing so, he says the spin-off benefits of having all the major players in the sector on the farm make it worthwhile.
He is particularly interested to see how the new varieties sown in the crop plots perform on the farm.
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Farm name: Roy Ward (Farms) Ltd
- Location: Leadenham, Lincoln
- Size: 638ha arable (see below)
- Soil: heavy soil + medium & heath land
Opta, Pondus, Trinita
Excalibur, Splendor, Castille, Catalina
Cereals 2008 event 67
Andrew’s philosophy is not to skimp on inputs “and thank God we didn’t skimp in 2007. The baseline for return on investment has moved as we have shifted from £60/tonne to £95/tonne for wheat as it is today,” he says.
The farm’s rotation used to be: set-aside, oilseed rape, wheat, wheat but has now moved to: rape, wheat, wheat on heavy soils. He also still grows sugar beet on the lighter land, although he is questioning the longevity of this crop on the farm.
Second wheats perform very well on the farm averaging 9.5-10t/ha in most years (apart from last year when yields were down).
Blackgrass is a big problem on the heavy clays at Leadenham, although not on the site where Cereals 2008 will be held.
Andrew reckons that the combination of his T1 and T2 treatments gave him “tremendous green leaf area I couldn’t fault the approach.”
• T0: Bravo (chlorothalonil) + PGR + Manganese + bittersalts
• T1: Various mixtures. Andrew has tried Cherokee (cyproconazole, propiconazole and chlorothalonil), but the rest was split between Tracker (epoxiconazole + boscalid) and Proline (prothioconazole). Tracker was used extensively on second wheats. He used Bravo across the board
• T2: Envoy (epoxiconazole + pyraclostrobin) topped up with Opus (epoxiconazole) to give three-quarter rate of Opus. + Bravo + Manganese + Bittersalts
• Ear spray: brown rust went to town, so he applied 0.25l/ha Folicur (tebuconazole) + 0.25 l/ha Opus + 0.35 l/ha Amistar (azoxystrobin)
• Glasgow is grown as a first and second wheat. Yields averaged 8.2t/ha last year (2t/ha down on usual because of the weather)
• Oakley is sown as a first wheat after oilseed rape or sugar beet. Yields averaged 9.1t/ha last year (again 2t/ha down – he would normally expect 12.1t/ha)
• Humber is also grown as a first and second wheat. It was the star performer last year, with yields coming in at 9.8-9.9t/ha.
Since the last Cereals event Andrew has got involved with trials linked to soil testing (with Terra Nitrogen as one of the four national sites for long-term nutrient testing), varieties – including those 3-4 years ahead of launch, Monsanto oilseed rape trials, and strip trials for CPB Twyford.
“Rape is taking off both in terms of price and demand and it’s interesting to be involved in these and other variety trials and to test them on a farm scale away from more normal trials protocols,” Andrew says.
Andrew has also been asked to join the HGCA Oilseeds Committee – he was the only farmer on the 13-man committee recently two more have joined. “I feel very strongly that these committees need practical hands-on farmers on them,” he says.
Because of his involvement with the HGCA Oilseeds Committee, Andrew has been doing his own trials on establishing rape for best results, including establishing it with a subsoiler (with very good results). This came about after a farm visit with CPB Twyford when he saw another farmer doing it on his 500 acres.
He has costed this out on his original and his new approach:
He used to apply sewage cake pre-rape (Anglian Water nutribio) – which has followed set-aside. In total, 4,000-5,000 tonnes/year applied. This will change now as set-aside has gone.
The farm used to conduct a four-pass establishment approach which used 74 litres of fuel/ha they have now got it down to two passes, based on a subsoiler, then a cultipress. This approach uses 37litres of fuel/ha. He reckons the savings this season are worth £2,030 in fuel alone (based on a fuel price of 45p/litre).
The oilseed rape was drilled on 8-12 Sept at 60seeds/m2 and emerged in six days. He reckons he achieved 90-95% emergence. Andrew plans to use seed rates of 30-40 seeds/m2 next year because establishment has been so good this season.
“The cheapest machine to use on the farm is weather,” Andrew says. This is why he tries to work ground and leave it for 2-7 weeks pre-drilling. “The continued rain, dry, wind etc works the soil much better and more cheaply than any machine.”
The farm invested in a new combine for last harvest and the extra capacity was a ‘Godsend’ last season, he notes. They still had green straw and green leaves (flag and leaves two and three) at harvest yet the grain was hard and coming off at only 13.5% moisture.
Case STX 440 Quadtrac
John Deere 7810 (uprated)
JCB Fastrac 2135 4WS
Househam 2500litre self-propelled sprayer
Manitou MLT741 telescopic handler
New Holland CR980 combine
Monosem 2000 12 row sugar beet drill (shared)
Simba Solo 450
Simba Double Press ‘DD’ rings
Simba Flatliner 5-leg subsoiler
Simba Cultipress ‘DD’ rings
Simba Freeflow drill
Kongskilde Germinator cultivator
KRM Bogballe fertiliser spreader
Opico Variocast seeder
Andrew sees a real opportunity for oilseed rape of any sort – especially given Futures prices of €420/t (£300/t) off the combine. Plus, if growing Splendor, there is a £44 premium plus energy aid payment, admixture and moisture bonuses, giving up to an additional £60/t over base price.
He anticipates an increase in oilseed rape for 2009, and sees a real growth opportunity in High Oleic, Low Linoliec (HOLL) varieties. Half of his farm has never had any rape grown on it (mainly used for sugar beet), so he plans to grow HOLL varieties on this land.
Unless British Sugar “pull their socks up” he and many other farmers may drop sugar beet altogether.
First and second wheats will still be a key focus as long as wheat prices stay high and he believes growers should take advantage of the Futures markets to help planning.
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