Wheat bulb fly damages Philip Bradshaw’s crops

Last month I wrote about this season’s challenging pest problem of wheat bulb fly on our larger-than-usual area of later-drilled wheat.



It has proven to be a sadly accurate forecast, and while I have not yet written off any fields, we have some modest areas that are badly affected.


The biggest problem is in two of our fields following potatoes. A combination of the seed treatment running out of steam after a mid-November drilling and not being able to travel when we needed to apply the egg hatch insecticide has resulted in serious crop damage.


It has since dried up enough to roll and insecticides have now been applied. The first nitrogen top dressing has also gone on and a warm rain shower or two now might just carry these fields through, albeit with reduced yields. Looking around it’s a common problem for many of us, and it adds to my deliberation of whether to drill late winter wheat after root crops, or another spring-sown crop.


The busy spring crop treatment schedule has been hard on my elderly self-propelled sprayer. It’s usually very reliable, but unfortunately a hydraulic pipe burst losing drive to the sprayer pump recently, and this caused a few frustrating hours of downtime.


Initially, I was pleased to quickly identify the problem pipe and broke out the toolkit. But a five-minute pipe removal task turned into a frustrating, knuckle-skinning, hour-long partial strip down of the sprayer to get spanners on to the pipe ends. Fitting the replacement pipe was a similar challenge and reminded me why I am a reluctant mechanic.


It’s annoying that often such basic mechanical repairs on many machines are complicated by a lack of thought from the manufacturer on how to easily access components for repair at a later date.

NOVEMBER
3

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