Farmer Focus: Wind makes spray notification idea unworkable for David Shepherdson

No matter which corner the weather blows from at the moment, it consistently fails to bring the much-needed rain.

For the best part of last month, we’ve had nothing but strong winds drying the seed-beds to dust and playing havoc with spraying programmes.

All our T1 spraying is complete; a mix of 0.5 litres/ha each of Jenton (fenpropimorph + pyraclostrobin) and Kestrel (tebuconazole + prothioconazole) and 2 litres/ha of chlormequat, the latter reduced to 1.25 litres on the barley, as the crop looked very drought stressed.

A windy spraying season highlights the unworkable nature of text messaging neighbouring houses to advise them of your plans to spray nearby fields. Effective spraying relies entirely on the farmer’s ability to judge the weather and can start at a moment’s notice and stop just as swiftly, trying to snatch any breaks in the wind.

At the speed I’m able to type the message, by the time local residents have been informed via SMS, the moment will have well and truly passed.

As soon as the weather allows, the rape will get its mid-flower fungicide of 1 litre/ha of Prosaro (prothioconazole + tebuconazole) plus manganese, the one element we always seem to be deficient in. The crop looks more promising now than it has done since planted. Or could that glorious expanse of flowers be covering a multitude of sins?

With only eight weeks until harvest, this year seems to have flown by. Now is the time to brush the cobwebs off the combine and give her the once over to avoid any unwelcome surprises when the big day arrives.

I’m expecting delivery of a replacement fuel pump and look forward to getting the machine running. I’m sure I’ll soon be able to report a clean bill of health and be ready to roll.

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