Farmer Focus: Debating when to apply the early fertiliser splits to oilseed rape

Very many thanks to all of you who voted for Sam Summers to take a place on the NFU sugar board.

By the time that you read this the main event will have happened and we will have a new NFU presidential team, who I wish well. I am certain that most in the industry do not appreciate just how much effort those guys and girls put in on our behalf, as with farming it’s very much more than just a job.

The start of the long laborious process of relocating my slippery smooth-coated little pals (Great Crested Newts) has eventually commenced on the site of the new reservoir. We have now dug two new ponds to replace the one that will be swallowed up by the new extra large pond and we have pumped the water out of the old pond into one of the new ones; yes, we did manage to find an old pump not called into action elsewhere in the country.

Next for some of those ecotype warriors to get down and dirty and have a dig around in the old pond looking for signs of my pals; nothing found just yet, so they must be hiding up in the grass somewhere. Now to move the slit from the bottom of one pond into two and continue slowly into spring ever watchful and hopeful of providing a new habitat for the Euston great newts.

Back out on the land, lots of muck has been spread, planting of early carrots is finished, the plastic is on these and sugar beet land is being prepared for sowing within the next week or so.

Winter cereals and oilseeds look exceptionally, if not far too well, let’s hope that we don’t suffer the same fate as last year with a bleak March and April. One of the questions will be just how long to hold off on the nitrogen applications on the oilseeds. I suppose that will depend on just how long the pigeons stay away and how fast it does get going. Given how thick it is at the moment I would suggest that we will be holding off for a bit yet.

Andrew Blenkiron manages the 4,400ha Euston Estate, south of Thetford. Principal farm enterprises are combinable and root crops, including sugar beet. In addition the estate supports let land, sheep, outdoor pigs, poultry, suckler cows, horses and stewardship

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