Farmer Focus: Half the winter wheat is good and a quarter is awful

Finally, some progress. In the first two weeks of April, we managed to drill 260ha of spring wheat and 150ha of maize – not bad going considering we had 80mm of rain that month.

The spring wheat posed a bit of a challenge as the sheep had puddled the ground so badly over the winter that it would not dry out, as it had capped over.

We managed to direct-drill half of the area with the Weaving Sabre Tine, but had to lift the rest to dry it out with the Vaderstad Swift before drilling with the Rapid as the ground was the consistency of crème brûlée.

See also: Endophytes raise wheat yields by 0.6t/ha in trials

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

We used the new Weaving dual disc on the front of the tractor with the Sabre Tine on the back. This was a game changer as it produced a lovely bit of tilth that then filled the slot once it had been through the drill.

The first 80ha are up in row and, hopefully, the rest will follow shortly.

The hybrid rye’s flag leaf is just emerging and will have a T2 when it next dries up. The spring wheat is not having any pre-emergence as it is a low input cereal in the mid-tier.

Half the winter wheats look good, and a quarter still look awful. The good crops had a robust T1 while the poor areas had a cheap and cheerful prothiconazole and folpet. Time will tell if this was the wrong move.

The maize will also be needing a pre-emergence shortly but with 60mm forecast over the next five days it can stay in the can.

Digestate spreading has gone very well this year with over 20,000cu m spread in the past few weeks.

Thank you to Troy, Dav and Alex for getting it on in testing weather and putting in long hours when the ground conditions and weather were correct to spread.

A final big thank you to Chris, Harvey, and Joe for putting in the hours to get us to where we are today.

Hopefully, it will dry up again soon and we can get the other half of the maize in and all the spraying on in a timely manner.

I had better concentrate now and log on to the RPA website to do our annual claim.

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