Farmer Focus: HLS scrub management in the offing for Edward Tupper

Drilling here has continued apace with all the first wheats going into good seed-beds. Recent warm nights have encouraged rapid germination and the emerging plants look well.

Slugs on the winter rape ground tend to come and go depending on the weather, so a dose of pellets has been applied as a precautionary measure.

Annual meadowgrass and volunteers in the winter rape have been controlled with an application of Boomerang (quinmerac + metazachlor) at 2 litres/ha and Panarex (quizalofop-P-tefuryl) at 0.8 litres/ha.

Forage maize yielded well resulting in a mammoth pile at the dairy. Einstein wheat will be sown afterwards, with hopefully just one pass with the Kockerling cultivator and then straight in with the Horsch drill.

Having successfully drafted a scrub management plan for the downland areas in the Higher Level Stewardship scheme, I shall hopefully be able to start cutting and thinning these areas during the winter.

This should encourage more downland grasses to flourish and eventually make more usable grazing for the Sussex beef cattle who have had the pleasure of Petworth Duke the 2nd has their mating companion.

Wheat and barley have been leaving the farm this month, at various prices.

With the continued fall in the wheat price, I do wonder how far it will drop. Or will the commodity traders come back into the market after the government bail out of the banks?

The next big question, with all these agricultural inputs going through the roof, is when to start marketing next year’s harvest.

With the world financial markets in turmoil, I thought I would share a tale with you. In conversation last November a banking friend of mine said to me: “Edward, the shot has been fired, but no one has heard the bang yet.”

Talking of banging, roll on the shooting season.

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