Farmer Focus: Hoping to not replant wheat in April

We managed to get all the spring wheat planted, rolled and Avadex applied before the heavens opened. I am not a big fan of planting in February as March tends to be a wet month and it increases blackgrass pressure.

I would like to think I am fairly optimistic, but when we have a dry spell like we just did I always think “it’s going to start raining and never stop”.

This makes me go drilling when my head is saying “hang fire”. Hopefully, we will not be replanting any wheat at the start of April.

See also: How a free test is keeping one wheat grower on top of disease

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.
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The rain has allowed me to sit in the office and do a few of the Basis webinars and online training courses, which have proven interesting and useful.

As I am Facts trained, I recently took the annual multiple-choice refresher test. However, the tests seem to have become more about understanding the English language with multiple answers being very similar.

Two related words are used to describe the same thing, but only one of the answers is correct. You almost need a degree in English to spot the slight differences between sentences.

My other gripe is that the test does not tell you what questions you got wrong, so it is hard to learn. For the record, I failed my first attempt by one mark and then passed without a single mistake on my second attempt.

Both winter wheat and rye crops are looking good and have the potential to yield well if everything goes to plan.

Winter wheat crops responded well to their 50kg N/ha application, while half the rye received the same dose, and the other half received digestate.

Land destined for maize has had cover crops grazed and sprayed off. We will look to start cultivations when the weather improves.

I received my spring price list for chemicals and its safe to say the price increase is eye watering. We will be reviewing recommendations carefully.

We have recently moved the estate office for the second time in four months, which has been stressful, and have also got two new members of staff, Nikki and Alice. It is so nice to have a fun team back together.

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