Farmer Focus Arable: Blackgrass levels are low for Richard Cobbald

Finally the weather has come good and a mild, dry spell has descended over our small part of Cambridgeshire. The whole complexion of the countryside has started to change and the murky colours of winter are quickly being replaced by lush green growth.

All our crops have had at least one dose of nitrogen and in the case of the rape a second application has gone on as well.

It has to be my favourite time of year, not least because it gets me out of the office and when not crop walking, I get to jump on the tractor and pull the land down for the sugar beet crop. It has made a good seed-bed on the whole, even on some of the heavier ground where it didn’t look that great, but these modern drills will tolerate far worse conditions.

The blackgrass hunt has been under way in ernest and to our suprise, we are finding much lower levels than we had expected. We can pretty much allow for spraying Atlantis (mesosulfuron + iodosulfuron) over at least 90% of our wheat crop, but will probably halve that this year.

The pre-emergence spray and the cold winter combined seems to have done a pretty good job, I have no doubt a few plants will appear in the late spring that we missed, but with cereal prices where they are now, I think we may have to tolerate the odd one or two.

Our wheat’s are looking good now they are growing and are showing promise, shame that seems to be the general feeling right across Europe, which means it doesn’t look good for the price hike we would all like to see. Just imagine what wheat prices would be if the pound was strong, we would be back to the days of £70/t, so we can at least be thankful to the bankers and politicians for that, other than that though they are complete baffoon’s.

Back to the tractor – now peas to drill.

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