Keith Challen applies wheat T0 fungicides

It’s been a busy month on farm. The winter oilseed rape has received 100kg/ha of liquid nitrogen with sulphur. I love the chance to get on the sprayer – there’s no better way to view the farm, including pigeon damage.

Hybrid variety ExPower is the first into stem extension followed by early-drilled Sesame. The lack of rainfall means the ground is already starting to crack and a cloud of dust followed the sprayer down the field.

We planted 2ha of elders (Sambucus nigra) for our drinks business earlier this month – the first to be planted under my management. Belvoir produces more than 10m bottles of non-alcoholic beverages, including our elderflower cordial drink, which is shipped around the world. I’m responsible for around 40ha of elders, and I’m sure you’re all saying “easy, they grow everywhere”. Well, they don’t want to grow in an orchard, so hopefully some trickle irrigation and organic nutrition will encourage them to prosper.

After a few niggles, I reckon our new Challenger RoGator sprayer is simply awesome. It seems to just eat the acres up, auto boom switching, auto boom levelling and auto filling are just some of the gadgets that have helped raise output and given a stress-free operation.

Winter wheat is filthy with septoria, mildew and small amounts of yellow rust prompting the need for T0, Asana (kresoxim-methyl + epoxiconazole + fenpropimorph) strobulurin, Meteor (imazaquin + chlormequat) growth regulator and some more manganese added in the tank-mix. Atlantis (iodosulfuron + mesosulfuron) has done a good job on blackgrass with at least 98% control and certainly better than last year. But manganese deficiency is worse this year, perhaps due to frost lift and root shearing.

Workshop projects this month include converting our Simba Solo into an oilseed rape sub-soiler drill with liquid fertiliser kit, seeder and slug pelleter.

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