Farmer Focus: Hoping for single-pass establishment for spring crops

Like everyone I’m itching to get on with some spring work.

With a higher percentage of spring cropping than originally planned I’m looking forward to seeing the farm green and growing in the sunshine, rather than brown and raining or cloudy which seems to have been the theme since I took over here in October.

The extra spring cropping looks like it will be to my advantage as there is a nice crop of blackgrass ready to be sprayed off before drilling.

The yard looks like the grid for a Formula One race, with both drills and both sprayers sitting waiting for the green light.

See also: Spring barley growers urged to raise seed rates if drilling delayed

The 303ha will be used to establish spring crops into autumn-prepared stale seed-beds with minimal disturbance, while the combi-drill and front press will be used on the rougher, less prepared seed-beds.

BPS application

The aim is to achieve a single-pass establishment in the spring on the rougher seed-beds which, I hope, will be better for blackgrass control and compaction than additional cultivations when soil structure may still be easily damaged at depth.

There’s still plenty of spare capacity with both drills, so I should be able to do my own, and leave the farm and do more work elsewhere at the optimum time, even in a catchy season.

The ditching work I mentioned in last month’s article is already proving its worth with newly found field drains running well.

Further investigation into these drains will be required ahead of undertaking some mole ploughing at harvest but hopefully things are heading in the right direction and doing the extra work now rather than later was the right choice.

I’m slowly getting everything in place since moving, although internet access is taking longer than hoped – I’m promised that fibre broadband will be worth the wait and give me a good download speed, but I’m not holding my breath.

One thing I can look forward to once I’m connected is something I’m fast beginning to think will be a whirlwind of headaches and problems – sorting out my Basic Payment Scheme application.

Not only does it sound like I will have numerous mapping issues to deal with, but I’ve also got to rely on the Rural Payments Agency to correctly and accurately update their system so I get the land parcels transferred to me by four other previous claimants to my single business identifier. Wish me luck.

Matt Redman operates a farming and agricultural contracting business specialising in crop spraying, Avadex application and direct drilling in Bedfordshire. He also grows cereals on a small area of tenancy land and was Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year in 2014.