Farmer Focus: Finding that essential spraying window

Mother Nature has got her act together a bit recently and crops look so much better for a drink. Finding spray days for T2 fungicides, however, was a little challenging with showers never far away and relentless wind.

Hew was unimpressed when I told him I had seen on Twitter that a friend had been out in his sprayer at 3am to catch up with his spray programme. Weather apps that feature rain radar are certainly a useful tool these days to find that essential window for applying the product and then getting the vital drying time after application.

See also: Why three Norfolk farms are trialling biopesticides

Our newest venture, our dog exercise field, is proving extremely popular. It has been quite a revelation to meet so many people who simply cannot let their dogs off a lead unless they are in a totally enclosed and secure area.

Our 1.2ha paddock with a 1.8m-high perimeter fence contains a picnic table, a hut on skids built by Hew to shelter from the elements, a hollow tree trunk and a bin for the dog poo. This, apparently, is dog and owner heaven for some, and the online booking system means that it is largely a hands-off enterprise for us.

We received top advice for the planning of this from Guy French of Foxes Rural Consultants. With thousands of people on our doorstep we are well placed to offer this type of service on farm, but there are many pitfalls when dealing with the public and we knew we needed some expert guidance.

The 50ha of borage is drilled and, despite the best efforts of a population of slugs, it is establishing well. I can see this land from the fifth tee of our local golf course when I head out for the occasional round, so it is a pleasing sight to watch it turn from brown to green, and hopefully to purple in a few weeks. I can’t say my drive is always pretty, but the view should be.

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