Farmer Focus: Rabbits biggest problem for Richard Cobbald

As I write the powers that be from all over the globe are gathering in London to discuss and pontificate about the state of our world economy and the environment.

Let’s hope the outcome of the meeting will stimulate the economies of countries that import lots of agricultural commodities and won’t continue to overdo global warming.

Mind you, with recent cold nights holding up growth of my backward-looking wheat, I hope some of the hot air spouted in London may well head north to us.

On the farm we have finished all our spring drilling, most of which was into very good seed-beds.

The sugar beet seed has cracked and spring barley is creeping through the ground. Again I call for some warmer nights.

The annual assault on blackgrass has also been completed, and I just wish someone could come up with something as effective on rabbits as Atlantis (iodosulfuron + mesosulfuron) is on grassweeds.

The furry-tailed creatures are probably our biggest headache on the farm this year, and they’re keeping our gamekeeper very busy in his quest to rid us of them.

Our oilseed rape, though, seems to have been left alone and is growing by the day. We’re finishing the nitrogen off,as the plants will soon be too tall to travel in without narrow tyres.

But I refuse to get too excited about the crop, as it always seems to have a habit of raising ones hopes only to deflate them at harvest.

In trials 5t/ha is regularly achieved, but unless the rotation is wide 3.5-4t/ha seems the norm no matter what you throw at it. On top of that there is the pigeon issue. So it will be of no surprise that I want more sugar beet.

Have a good Easter!

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