Near perfect cereal growing weather for David Shepherdson

June has been almost perfect for growing cereals – warm and with enough rain to keep things filling nicely.

Everything looks very promising – what we don’t need now is an almighty thunderstorm to knock the winter barley flat. The crop looks very top-heavy.

Blackgrass has become my number one enemy. I don’t know of anything else that spreads over land quite like it, and it’s almost as if I’d drilled it with the seed.

Wheat treated with Pacifica (iodosulfuron-methyl-sodium + mesosulfuron-methyl) looks exceptionally clean. The herbicide also does a good job on brome, which is awkward to control, winter barley being the weak link in the rotation.

I did leave one field until late October to drill, which reduced the brome by 90%, but we were pushing our luck with the weather.

Axial (pinoxaden) has worked well on blackgrass in barley, although it would be helpful if it didn’t come in a bottle identical to that of its adjuvant partner Adigor. In a careless moment, it could cost someone a lot of money if they were to pick the wrong one up. Perhaps different coloured bottles could be a solution?

Recent thoughts have been on rotations and variety choice, keeping things simple due to lack of storage. Most barley is sold forward to get it away before rape and wheat come in.

Wheat will be all Group 3s again, hoping for some biscuit premium.

Our conventional winter rapes look outstanding. But we are trying a hybrid on 24ha (60 acres) in the middle of a dale with a high pheasant population, hoping the extra vigour will get it away from the birds before they nip it all off.

By the time you read this, the rape should be ready for desiccation and the new combine will have arrived, ready for action.

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