Farmer Focus: OSR off to a flying start says Edward Tupper

First wheats Solstice and Claire have gone in very well after oilseed rape, albeit into a drier seed-bed than last year.

Slugs, so far, seem to have disappeared, which is a great relief – even though I was ready with my calibrated applicator and a huge pile of pellets.

The fine weather recently has also helped oilseed rape to rocket out of the ground and it looks very well. The crop has already been sprayed twice – first with a pre-emergence mixture of Boomerang (1.2 litres/ha) and Fiddle (0.2 litres/ha) and then a follow-up treatment for volunteers.

The sun has made an appearance more times during September than it did during the whole of harvest. This has had a big impact on the grass growth, with fields turning a strange colour, resulting in earlier buffer feeding than normal. This will be helped by the harvesting of the forage maize which this year will have rape meal mixed into it as it is being clamped.

With the government announcing public spending cuts and the various parties having their annual conferences, my thoughts have been turned to next year’s general election.

I am wondering whether a change of government will help farmers and the countryside. Will there be a radical change of policy from any of the three main parties? Will they help the diabolical situation that is TB, help local councils with more funding to enable a better infrastructure or just create more quangos and spend the taxpayer’s money?

With a national red top newspaper changing its allegiance to the conservatives a thought crossed my mind – I wonder whether Farmers Weekly would stand above the parapet and pledge its support to a party and campaign rigorously for change?

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