Yellow and brown rust outbreaks fails to materialise for Andy Barr

Well the prediction of the world ending in a mushroom cloud of yellow and brown rust has not materialised here so far. Only tiny traces of the latter have been found.

It’s a similar story with light leaf spot in the oilseed rape where the variety, Rhino, has won the “fastest out the blocks in the spring award” this year. Intriguingly there are far fewer weeds in the direct drilled oilseed rape than there is in the subsoiled areas.

Amazingly our recently drilled spring barley has received more rain before it has even emerged than last season’s crop did in the whole of the first three months of its existence. Watch out for complaints about waterlogging in my next piece.

The period for public comments on a planning application for a 14ha solar park on the farm has just closed and we should know the outcome next month. I think it’ll produce invaluable renewable energy on poor land in a well screened area, but needless to say not everyone is for it. As Digby Jones joked at the Sentry Conference, “perhaps we have now moved on from NIMBYs (not in my back yards) to BANANAs (build absolutely nothing anywhere near anyone).

I wonder if the soon to be introduced planning guidance favouring development can change attitudes with evidence of economic revitalisation benefits.

I was recently lucky enough to hear more from the fascinating Neil Fuller, a man who knows an awful lot about crop nutrition and is in much demand around the world.

The figures he presented regarding the decreasing amount of nutrients in the food we grow and the possible link to a rise in human health problems were alarming. Doubling production levels could only be half the challenge. Personally I would love to produce nutrient-enriched wheat, on the right contract.

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