Jon Parker not surprised by possible herbicide shortage

I am not going to mention the weather, suffice to say that this has been one of the most trying of spring seasons. Spray timings have been challenging and along with many other wheat growers blackgrass control has been poor.

It was no surprise to hear at Cereals that there will be a shortage of herbicides this autumn. Distributors are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. They want to make sure they can give their customers what they want, but they don’t want stocks sat in their stores all winter until the next season. Do the manufacturers not look at the increasing area of crop plantings and increase production accordingly?

Surely this then leads to prescriptive agronomy. How can you crop walk at crucial times of the year, react to what is being found, come up with the correct mixture of products to apply and then not be able to source them because all the T1 fungicides are in various farms chemical stores in September, mine included?

Oilseed rape has taken a bit of a battering with the heavy rain and winds and is now what is described as gently nestling, not lodged. Will glyphosate work better this year as we can now hit more of the plant or should we be looking at swathing? Thoughts welcomed. Wheat T3 fungicides have eventually been applied in the two periods of dry weather that were available in June.

Harvest preparations are now under way with the usual grain store cleaning about to start. The new John Deere S680i combine from Chris Tallis Farm Machinery has just had its tracks fitted and looking at soil conditions I think we will need them. Just the ACCS, Assured Produce, Beef and Lamb Standards and LEAF Marque assessment to go through and then we will be ready.

Jon Parker manages 1,500ha, near Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, on a medium to heavy land, for Ragley Home Farms, predominantly arable growing wheat, oilseed rape and salad onions. There is also a beef fattening unit and sheep flock.

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