FARMER FOCUS: Beans a picture of perfection

I am surely not the only sprayer operator in Lincolnshire who has noticed that since a vacuum cleaner entrepreneur has been hoovering up every last acre in the county, the wind has hardly stopped blowing enough to change a dust bag, let alone get on with any spraying.

Over the winter I was grateful for the Siberian wind as it was drying out the ploughing ready for the beans to be drilled into an onion bed. Now the only beans growing are the ones the drill slotted into a resolutely plastic furrow, and those drilled into a friable tilth are sat there as complete as the day they were sown.

The rest of the beans were direct drilled and look a picture of perfection. They are all emerging and standing proud, visible in GPS influenced straight lines. The only mildly disappointing field is where I listened to the forecaster’s warning of imminent doom and an inch of rain, and forced the drilling when it was not quite fit.

The cover crop of blackgrass and wheat volunteers had been maintained to try and use some of the excess moisture, but all they succeeded in doing was keeping the land wet. A lesson learned.

This time of year is when blackgrass populations are counted and plans for future control are made. Well, the delayed drilling of last autumn has certainly kept the plant numbers down, but each plant is of Big Daddy proportions and my confidence in Pacifica (iodosulfuron + mesosulfuron) working is slight.

Well in fact my time is being shared between counting blackgrass and trying to master social media. I am slowly integrating myself into the Twitter-sphere, but quite what I am meant to do with the breaking news that Iran has bought a lot of Egyptian fertiliser I don’t know.

Will Howe farms 384ha of medium to heavy land at Ewerby Thorpe Farm, near Sleaford, Lincolnshire, growing wheat, oilseed rape and winter beans

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