Farmer Focus: Drill comparison trial under slug attack

The recent frosts have been welcome, particularly in view of the last couple of winters being so mild.

With everything now washed off and put away for the winter all that remains is to apply Refinzar (penthiopyrad and picoxystrobin), a bit of terbiconazole where the oilseed rape is very forward, and kerb where we have some grass weed issues to the oilseed rape.

Slugs have been a real menace in two fields of winter wheat after oilseed rape.

See also: Read more from our Arable Farmer Focus writers

We have two fields side by side, both with same cropping history and cultivation techniques, the only difference being the type of drill that was used to establish the winter wheat.

We have not had any slug problems at all in the field that was drilled with the combination drill, but the other field that was drilled with the cultivator drill has seen a constant battle with the slimy pests.

When I get an opportunity I was going to do some plant counts on the two fields to get a grasp of loss percentage and the impact on the cost between the two techniques.

ADHB monitor farms

I was fortunate enough to attend the ADHB Monitor Farm conference at the end of November.

The conference gave a real insight into several monitor farms and how they are combating many different changes, from managing fixed cost, to soil health, to maximising yield potential.

The event was really well organised and it was great to see some familiar faces and meet some new ones and share our experiences. I also came away with plenty of food for thought.    

Elsewhere on the farm the stock is starting to come in and we will soon be into that familiar winter routine with that distinct smell of silage about the yard.

All that leaves me to say is a merry Christmas and a happy and successful new year to you all. 

Jack Hopkins is the assistant farm manager on a 730ha estate in north Herefordshire on predominantly silty clay loam soils. Cropping includes wheat, barley, oilseed rape, spring oats and peas, plus grassland that supports a flock of 1,000 ewes and 25 pedigree Hereford cattle.

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