Robert Law fears consequences of no new blackgrass chemistry

Although we are at one of our busiest times of the year, with land work starting and sheep being housed in readiness for our main lambing period, a day-and-a-half spent at the recent NFU annual general meeting was more than rewarding.

In fact, for me it was the best one that I have attended. In the past, I have listened to a lot of navel gazing, carping, whingeing and government ministers being given anything other than a fair hearing. Peter Kendall got the conference off on the right foot with a statesman-like and positive message.

One session I always make a point of attending is the “Next Generation Breakfast”. This year it was standing-room only, with several speakers from the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, including the chairman Milly Wastie.

We heard several case studies from young farmers who have climbed up onto the farming ladder and had a can-do attitude. And as usual, Farmer Focus livestock contributor Tom Rawson did not disappoint with his message.

While some of the green welly brigade keep telling us that with commodity prices at their present levels we should only be growing wheat and oilseed rape, the message is coming to us clearly from other quarters that there will be no new blackgrass chemistry for at least the next 10 years. Meanwhile, glyphosate is being found in watercourses and there is a possibility of resistance resulting from repeated and indiscriminate use.

I will continue with our mixed arable and livestock farming system – despite the fact that having 1900 ewes with a scanning rate of 227% due to lamb over the next month all looks a bit daunting.


Farmer Focus Arable: Robert Law

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