Farmer Focus Arable: Richard Beachell says OSR is small, but looks ‘fantastic’

My first crop walk this year has let me assess autumn weed control and plan a strategy to clean up cleavers, groundsel and volunteer rape escapees in early-sown first wheats. Low-rate Boxer (florasulam) should do the job, most likely tank-mixed with the first growth regulator split once temperatures increase.

Doubletop has been applied to oilseed rape, which although small looks fantastic. It’s starting to move away quickly and now’s the time to be extra vigilant for pigeons.

Even our late-September subsoiled sowing, which looked bare all winter, now has a green tinge and should make a decent crop.

Winter barley and second wheats have also received their first nitrogen.

Because we have trial plots on the farm where precise boom shut-off is required, all nitrogen is applied using a Kuhn Aero pneumatic spreader. This needs a bit more careful servicing than a spinner, but its accuracy is excellent and it allows us to spread in windier weather. It also helps us make savings by using lower SP quality nitrogen, if available, without compromising the spread pattern.

Our T1 fungicide programmes have been drawn up. Ennobe (prochloraz + epoxiconazole) will feature in the first wheats, as it has done particularly well in TAG trials.

Proline (prothioconazole) will be the product of choice in the second wheat to combat stem-base problems.

The 20% hike in the price of chlorothalonil seems unjust. This year I’ve shopped around a bit for prices, which has been an interesting exercise and one which must be continued.

My farm’s single payment finally arrived in the first week of March shortly after I’d contacted my friendly case worker at the RPA to investigate why it was so late. Coincidentally, the very next day my forms for this year arrived.

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