Farmer Focus Arable: Crops looking good for Philip Bradshaw’

After regular showers over the past month some of our light land crops look better than I had anticipated at this stage, with oilseed rape in particular looking quite good considering the earlier dry spell.

But yield potential is certainly down on last year and it’s frustrating that forward crop prices are not rising accordingly.

Our sugar beet has become a crop of two halves. One field, with the variety demonstration plots, looks fantastic. It’s uniform with large beet sporting healthy deep green foliage, helped partly by a modified nutrient strategy.

Sadly, the other field is the complete opposite, with growth stages ranging from cotyledon to meeting across the rows – often within the same row.

The biggest problem has been the drought which followed ploughing the over-wintered stubble. Despite our best efforts it dried everything out and slowed emergence right down.

With most of the field now up and growing, there will be a crop, but one that really needs leaving out for lifting very late to bulk up. But I’m tempted to lift it as early as possible to get the maximum area back into a following wheat crop in good time.

I’ve been busy recently off the farm with my various committee and board member duties. I’m enjoying a relatively new role as chairman of the Arable and Horticulture Sector group for Landskills East, a rural skills training programme for the east of England.

As an industry moving forward and facing new challenges, we need all the help with training and professional development we can get, and the funding available under this programme is very welcome indeed.

I would like to urge everyone involved with a land-based industry in the eastern region to check out Landskills East’s website and get involved, and for others elsewhere to find their regional equivalent.

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