Richard Cobbald gambles with nitrogen fertiliser rates

The spring drought has prompted me to cut nitrogen rates on my second wheats – against the advice of several experts. I just don’t think there is the potential in this crop so I have cut rates by 20kg/ha. Hopefully, this will not come back to haunt me. But with the high price of nitrogen fertiliser, I am prepared to gamble.

This is our third consecutive dry spring and definitely the earliest. This year, we haven’t had any proper rainfall yet and the only real moisture has come from the winter snow. As a result we are starting to look at how to change our farming policy to account for these weather extremes.

Our second wheats are drilled late and they seem to get hit the hardest. I think we should be pushing our drilling dates forward and growing all milling wheat to try to get results. We will also continue to keep our seed rates high as tillering does not seem to happen in these conditions.

We would like to increase our sugar beet area as we can get the crop to establish well with the use of muck and early ploughing. This year there are excellent plants and they continue to thrive.

Another option worth exploring is possibly replacing second wheats with winter barley on our lighter land. The jury is still out and I am coming over all itchy just thinking about it. Any good contracts out there?

We have just submitted our ELS renewal and were surprised at how much extra we needed to do to increase points after the loss of management plans. Thanks to the excellent help from Oakbank, the process was fairly straightforward.

Finally, best wishes to my good friend Shaun Gadsby, a farmer and outstanding rugby player recovering from serious illness. Get well soon mate.


Ask the... Breeder

Register now

Online grain trading made easy with Farmers Weekly Graindex

It takes just a couple of minutes to create a listing on Farmers Weekly Graindex and you’ll get a range of prices to compare from active buyers who want your grain.
Visit Farmers Weekly Graindex
See more