Embrace metric system, says Simon Beddows

Farmers are always talking about the weather – and no wonder when so much rides on the outcome of getting rain at the right time. Two months with virtually no rainfall has especially affected spring crops. Early drilled wheats look fine, but crops on the lighter, gravely soils look less even in colour. If we get rain before the flag leaf is out, they should still yield fine.



Frost in the second week of April has taken about 90% of the flower buds on a block of DK Cabernet oilseed rape that we look after for a neighbour. All the Astrid and the bulk of Cabernet at home were slightly more forward and seem to have escaped. New flower buds are now appearing so let’s hope it can compensate for the damage done. It’s the second year that this variety has given me sleepless nights, so I don’t think it will be grown here again.


The new SDHI fungicides are currently undergoing farm trials in both winter barley and wheat. The yields will all be recorded over the weighbridge and no doubt discussed here after harvest. T2 fungicides will be based around Ignite (epoxiconazole) as Proline (prothioconazole) was used at T1 and I like to rotate the triazoles. Added to this will be a low rate of stobilurin and some more Bravo (chlorothalonil).


Finally, well done to Ian Pigott for raising the thorny issue of metrication in agriculture. I totally agree that it is high time we gave the boot to units, cwts, yards and acres. I was taught both at school and now almost exclusively use the metric system.


How do we persuade youngsters that we are a vibrant and innovative industry when we don’t use the system they have been taught at school? By the way, mine’s a pint, or should that be 0.568 litre.


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