Farmer Focus: David Shepherdson is resisting the temptation to drill second wheats

The past month seems to have flown past – quite literally in a cloud of dust.


With no rain at all in the past four weeks, drilling conditions have been very dry. Fortunately, the rape went into moisture and is now up and away, although I can already see partridge damage around the taller hedges.


First wheats are now poking through and some gentle rain would be welcome to even-up seed emergence. Most was established min-till as ploughing our soils in the dry would have meant expensive power-harrowing ahead of the drill.


These conditions mean we are ahead of schedule and have to resist the temptation to start drilling second wheats. We’re trying a farm-scale trial of second wheat (Duxford) and, in a bid to substantiate my belief that fancy seed dressings are unnecessary, all seed will be single-purpose dressed. By not drilling too early and creating a good firm seed-bed, we are sure take-all will not become a problem.


I think I now hold the record for drilling the most bizarre field. Having been asked to drill some grass in 12 acres being returned to parkland, I arrived at the field to find that 30 trees had been newly planted prior to drilling. This resulted in the 12 acres becoming 15 acres to cover all the ground, and I went home understandably dizzy.


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