Farmer Focus: Richard Beachell says cross-compliance margins harbour slugs

Crop emergence on later-sown wheat has slowed considerably as soil temperatures fall. A second application of slug pellets has been required on some areas to prevent grazing as the first shoots emerge.

Two-metre cross-compliance margins seem an ideal habitat for slugs to thrive, so some crop edges look a little ragged.

A large tonnage of milling wheat is leaving the farm at reasonable feed base prices, but a £10/t premium is all we can expect as protein and Hagberg levels are well below full specification.

It’s disappointing that we still have a fair amount to be marketed and prices are forecast to remain low for the rest of the season. This will have a marked impact on our cash-flow budget, which has had to be significantly altered.

Our average wheat price will be nothing spectacular and I hope my marketing skills are vastly improved at the HGCA Price Risk Management workshops that I shall attend over the coming weeks.

We’re clearly fortunate that all our autumn-planned acreage has been established successfully.

A recent away-day football trip by train to Portsmouth clearly showed that autumn plantings must be down and yield potential affected by the waterlogged fields around the country. I even saw small pockets of wheat yet to be harvested.

It must be worrying for farmers with stocks of IPU or trifluralin who haven’t been able to sow crops to apply them to.

It will be a bitter pill to swallow if they then have to pay for the herbicides to be disposed of correctly once the use-by date has passed.

Our pesticide store now looks remarkably empty, as all autumn recommendations have been applied.

Proposed crop protection plans for spring can now be drawn up and tenders will be sent out to obtain the best deals.


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