Farmer Focus: Evaluate yourself (and aphid levels)

I have been pushing myself harder and harder and taking on more responsibility and roles within the business.

Last week, the penny dropped. I had taken on so much I was drowning in work and unfocused. My eye was off the ball and letting the teams down.

I was surprised at how relinquishing a few roles has changed my outlook, my mental health and stress levels.

See also: How to adapt management to specific winter wheat varieties for spring 2023

About the author

Robin Aird
Arable Farmer Focus writer Robin Aird manages 1500 ha on the North Wiltshire and Gloucestershire border with a further 160ha on a contract farming agreement.  Soils vary from gravel to clay, with the majority silty clay loams. A diverse estate with residential, commercial and events enterprises. He is Basis qualified and advises on other farming businesses.
Read more articles by Robin Aird

I had become increasingly grumpy at work and at home, which was not good for anyone, especially the family.

I am now in a much better place, so please evaluate yourself and if you can delegate or get extra help please do, before you bury yourself.

Last week, I attened our local Niab Tag field day. It was a great morning with lots of discussions. One of the main talking points was aphids.

It’s so easy to “chuck an insecticide into the tank as it’s so cheap”.

We haven’t seen many aphids on our crops so we will not be applying at present and the ones I can find are so far down the leaf shoot that a contact spray will not reach them.

The consensus from a lot of members was that they were recommended an aphicide by their agronomists due to the weather.

Niab Tag has some very interesting data on spraying and yield damage. I hope I do not regret what we are doing, but from an environmental point of view this must be correct – there are also many spider webs.

The wheat drilling trials are looking very similar at present.

There is very little blackgrass in the wheat, but a fair splattering is appearing in the rye, so this will be having an Extension of Authorisation for Minor Use application of sulfonylurea herbicides with a partner shortly.

Grain markets are slowly decreasing in value as the grain corridor gets closer to renewal. The two days before I wrote this report saw 400,000 tonnes moved on ships through the corridor.

You can see why this has such a large impact on grain prices. Volatility is still the word of the season and risk management comes into its own in times like this.

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