Farmer Focus Arable: David Shepherdson is in no rush to write fertiliser cheque

This year’s oilseed rape crops really could not be more different from those we were observing 12 months ago.

If anything, they are looking far too lush and could do with some sharp frosts to slow growth. Its always either too much or too little. If only we could find a happy medium, just once.

The recent rains, however, proved timely for early-drilled wheat, moistening seedbeds that had been a little dry in places and evening up emergence.

The proverbial field gate is pretty much shut on crops now until the spring, with all wheat and barley having had herbicide.

Wheat received 3 litres/ha of diflufenican/chlorotoluron and barley 0.6 litres/ha of flufenacet/diflufenican. As chlorotoluron cannot be use on Duxford, I used 3 litres/ha of pendimethalin/picolinafen instead.

One job that remains to be done is to buy compound fertilisers. Although half the price it was last year, it is still 50% more expensive than in 2007. With most field indeces in the twos and threes, I’m in no rush to write another substantial cheque to a fertiliser manufacturer, especially with the price of wheat still below £100 and the price of malting barley virtually non-existent.

Our new digital map pack arrived this week, with all fields accounted for. Some had shrunk and some had grown, so things seemed about even.

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