Supermarket chem sales surprise David Shepherdson

David Shepherdson and his father rent about 182ha (450 acres) of arable land, mainly thin limestone, on the Dawnay Estates near Scarborough, North Yorkshire where they grow wheat, barley and oilseed rape. He also undertakes contract work including all spraying on another 100ha (250-acre) farm

After six weeks of rain through March and April, we’ve had six weeks without. Dare I ask for a little shower to get the spring barley going?

All spraying is up to date with a T1 of 0.6 litres/ha Prosaro (prothioconazole + tebuconazole) plus Harmony (metsulfuron-methyl + thifensulfuron-methyl) on spring barley to deal with weeds and a T2 ear wash of 0.5 litres/ha of Firefly (fluoxastrobin + prothioconazole) on winter barley.

That should be the gate well and truly shut on that crop till harvest.

As I write I’m waiting for the wheat’s flag leaf to appear before putting on 0.5 litres/ha of Prosaro.

The Bank Holiday provided a couple of days off for the annual garden spruce-up. I went for some supplies and was astounded at what can be purchased readily off the supermarket shelf.

We constantly hear complaints about farmers using strong pesticides, but walking the aisles at our local store you see shelves stacked full of Roundup, MCPA and even slug pellets.

Any Tom, Dick or Harry can just throw them in their trolley among their food and drink and think nothing of it. Then off they drive home and spread them liberally around their garden or patio tubs without the need for any rules and regulations.

I suspect arable farmers’ spending spree will have ground to a halt as swiftly as it took off. The glimmer of hope from higher grain prices has been snatched away by the oil and fertiliser companies making millions of dollars in profit.

One thing we have done to negate the high fertiliser prices this year is to swap wheat straw for muck with a local suckler farm. I’m not sure how much cheaper it works out by the time I’ve paid for spreading but it will do our light soils the world of good.

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