Farmer Focus: Weed control proves challenging this season

For me June always kicks off with the Royal Cornwall Show at Wadebridge. This annual outing is part business and part pleasure combined with some time spent stewarding.

The show has consistently retained its core agricultural focus, which I sincerely hope will be retained.

Normally, I am at the show for its three-day duration; however, this year I am missing the Saturday to attend the wedding of one of our former placement students, Ed, who is marrying Victoria near Hereford. We wish them well.

See also: Read more from our Arable Farmer Focus writers

Back on the farm everything is growing well. We had a couple of good spells of rain at the end of May which stood us in good stead and has delayed us having to start irrigating the onions and potatoes.

There has been enough sunshine in between to enable silage to be made for our beef enterprise, although the grass yields were lighter than we have seen for the past couple of years.

On the cereal front, all crops are looking much better now than they did a couple of months back.

The wheat T2 fungicide was completed in good time and most varieties look fairly clean from a disease perspective.

Weed control has proved our biggest challenge this year thanks to poor conditions over winter and I can see that we will be requiring a significant amount of preharvest glyphosate this year.

Heaven help us if the use of that is further restricted or banned. Overall, I feel that here we are potentially looking at a much more average combinable crop performance this harvest compared to the previous two.

Our next major job is daffodil bulb lifting. The long, cool spring has resulted in substantial top growth which can prove tricky to deal with.

I use a tractor mounted propane gas burner to advance senescence prior to lifting. It is a slow and steady job, but it seems to do the trick.

Finally the long awaited EU referendum is around the corner. My view is while there is a lot about Europe that I don’t like, it would be crazy not to be part of the world’s largest trading block when it is your neighbour.


Jeremy Oatey manages 1,200ha of arable land near Plymouth in Cornwall and is 2013 Farmers Weekly Arable Farmer of the Year. Cropping includes wheat, barley, OSR, oats, beans, potatoes, onions, swedes and daffodils.

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