I don’t know whether it’s the power of the media or just coincidence, but two days after my last Farmer Focus article, our Single Farm Payment arrived. The best present this Christmas, or was it? Because it always arrives late, we plan our grain sales to fit our cashflow. Therefore, the majority of our sales were committed by December. This means we have potentially missed out on some of the highest grain prices.
We managed to apply Atlantis (mesosulfuron + iodosulfuron) to the wheat on the worst blackgrass areas at the beginning of December. Only time will tell how effective it has been. The rest will have to wait until conditions are suitable, more than likely in March, especially as the ground is now waterlogged after the snow melt was followed by heavy rain.
The usual battle with the pigeons continues on the oilseed rape, but a multi-pronged approach seems to be working with spinning eagle eyes, rope bangers, pigeon shooters and my favourite – rockets. That just leaves the pheasants and deer to deal with.
I plan to visit the LAMMA show and hopefully finalise a new grain dryer to replace the old one, which had a serious fire in it last summer. Machinery preparation is under way before the spring salad onion drilling programme, which normally starts in February and continues until June. I can’t wait for the irrigators to come out again.
The liquid fertiliser tanks are full, so when the opportunity arises, we will start putting the first split of nitrogen and sulphur on the oilseed rape from mid-February, with second wheats to follow. As a mixed farm, lambing is just about to start, then the dreaded TB tests for cattle are scheduled for early February – now that’s another column in itself.
Farmer Focus Arable: Jon Parker