Farmer Focus: Robert Nightingale and three crops

Last month I asked for some kind weather so that I could get our OSR fungicide. So, of course, October was mostly spent dodging the rain.

We went out to spray a Crawler (carbetamide) and Centurion Max (Clethodim) mix for resistant blackgrass without being able to follow up with a phoma spray, as it was either raining or we couldn’t travel.

Now the ground has dried up, we have got the fungicide on in the last few days and overall, I don’t think the phoma will be too bad, because it has taken a long time to develop and the plants are either a decent size or huge.

If the papers are to be believed we have got a particularly cold and snowy winter ahead of us so it bears thinking about using a plant growth regulator so the main stem doesn’t get shattered by the frost, as is regularly seen in Germany.

But I’m hoping that despite the colder weather it won’t be too bad and I’m leaving the growth regulation to the inevitable slug and pigeon grazing early next year.

Wheat is looking very good with some areas ready for a follow up autumn post-emergence for either blackgrass or brome. However, half of it needs no autumn post-emergence other than a Barley Yelow Dwarf Virus spray to help me sleep at night.

There has been fantastic activity from our pre/peri-emergence of Trooper (pendimethalin + flufenacet)/Firebird (flufenacet + diflufenican) and Avadex (tri-allate). The follow up spray is to control the slightly bigger blackgrass which we’re not confident the residuals will finish off.

We operate a block cropping approach tailored to the different types of land we farm, as this cuts the time taken moving between the blocks of land, mainly at harvest.

However, this system will have to be changed when the three crop rule comes in under CAP, as each unit is a different holding. Going forward this could be a potential logistical headache, but spreading the type of break crop we use to increase our harvest window and reduce the financial risk from have a single crop on a unit will, hopefully, compensate for this logistical headache.

You’ll have to excuse the moustache in the picture, it is Movember after all…

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Robert Nightingale manages 
670ha of combinable cropping across Sentry’s four farms in Hampshire. Cropping includes winter oilseed rape plus spring and winter cereals. The farms are also in a range of ELS and HLS agreements

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