Desiccation a week behind schedule for Simon Beddows

My wife, Liz, and daughter, Rebecca, with the help of Henley Young Farmers, recently raised over £1,000 for the Air Ambulance. They organised a two day trec competition with over 60 competitors travelling from as far away as Devon, Shropshire and Kent. For the uninitiated, trec is a horse sport that involves getting lost, obstacles and riding skills. My wife will kill me for describing it like that! A great time was had by all – partly helped by the close proximity of a pub and, for once, the weather.


Solstice wheat has recently fallen victim to brown rust despite receiving a comprehensive fungicide programme. The timings were spot on as far as growth stages were concerned, but due to the temperature fluctuations some of the intervals were too long.

Septoria is also marching up the plant and is the worst I have seen for some time. The rust has received a T4 application. At the time of writing we are desperate for some sunshine or grainfill is likely to suffer. I would also appreciate some sun as I am penning this on my summer holiday in Devon in the pouring rain. Let’s hope it’s saving it for harvest.

Desiccation of the rape often starts during the first week of July with winter barley being ready to cut around 12 July. The Alienor rape resembles a very choppy sea, while the Astrid and PR46W21 look much better. This year we look to be at least a week late, which will give me a chance to get familiar with the new combine. Ken, one of our tractor drivers and our weather guru tells me that the jet stream is due to sink even further south, so there’s no end to the unsettled weather in sight. I hope for everyone’s sake that he has got this one wrong.

Simon Beddows manages 1,000ha of arable land at Dunsden Green, south Oxfordshire. Cropping is cereals, oilseed rape, beans and forage maize.

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