Andrew Hebditch

20 November 1998

Andrew Hebditch

Andrew Hebditch farms

285ha (700 acres) of

owned, tenanted and

share-farmed land at Coat,

Martock, Somerset. Silt

and clay soils support

winter wheat, barley and

oilseed rape, plus spring

peas, linseed and beans

WE finished drilling at Martock on Oct 18, just about on schedule for us. Between then and the end of the month 100mm (3.9 in) of rain fell and fieldwork has been severely limited since.

Hussar, Charger and Riband wheats are now at the three leaf stage. Charger is a new variety for us, slotting in as a second wheat after a successful trial last year. Full rate methiocarb has gone on all cereals and some have needed a second dose. Now everything seems to be establishing well.

My agronomist and I have decided that grass and broad-leaved weed control will again revolve around ipu at 1500-2500g of active/ha depending on soil type and seedbed quality. Mecoprop will be added for volunteer oilseed rape and if the warm weather continues so will cypermetherin.

Our 80ha (200 acres) of oilseed rape, including industrial crops on set-aside, is mostly covering the ground well with 4-8 leaves. However, 20ha (50 acres) late drilled on Sept 21 is more backward, and is yet to get the 1.0 litre/ha of cycloxydim and 1.25 litres/ha metazachlor plus oil tank-mix which has gone on elsewhere. Some serious blackgrass and ryegrass is now at the two leaf stage but fortunately it seems to have stopped growing for now.

Fields destined for either spring peas or beans have had P and K applied down the stubble tramlines and linseed fields will get about 10t/ha (4t/acre) of broiler litter once stubble turnips are eaten off in January. Together that is 80ha (200 acres) of spring crops, and to date we have only ploughed a tenth of it. With some light land on the farm it is unusual for us not to be able to find any ground that will work.

At the time of writing the weather seems to have settled. Long may it continue as we need a week or two to clear the backlog of outstanding work.

New Farmer Focus writer Andrew Hebditch is relieved winter cereal drilling is complete on his Somerset farm. Even on lighter land fieldwork for spring crops had ground to a halt last week.

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