Andrew Hebditch

2 June 2000

Andrew Hebditch

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

AT long last we are up to date; our flag leaf fungicides were finished on May 24, a few days later than we hoped with some ears emerging in more sheltered spots.

Judging by the weather forecast it is a good thing we have finished, as rain is given for the next three or four days.

Landmark (kresoxim-methyl + epoxiconazole) at 0.8 litres/ha went on most of the wheat. Twist (trifloxystrobin) at 1 litre/ha plus 0.5 litres/ha of Opus (epoxiconazole) followed an earlier application of the same mix on 22ha (55 acres) of Equinox. So far it seems to be doing a good job. To keep costs in check the only late growth regulator applied was Terpal (2-chloroethylphosphonic acid + mepiquat chloride) on 36ha (90 acres) of Savannah.

Linseed was direct drilled with the Vaderstad on May 6 at 38kg/ha (32lbs/acre), giving 500 seeds/sq m. Even on some very stiff ground the drill maintained a depth of 15-20mm (0.6-0.8 in). Cambridge rolls followed to close the drill slits that were left open in a few of the damper areas. Emergence has been rapid and even, with an insecticide already having gone on to subdue a thriving flea beetle population. Nitrogen has been applied at 88kg/ha (70 units/acre), which should help the crop get away.

Looking at growing costs so far, for the first time this year we are under £250/ha (£100/acre). Oilseed rape averages £245/ha (£99/acre) and wheat £237/ha (£96/acre) with just an ear wash to go. These costs may seem excessive but we do have a thriving wild oat and blackgrass population to tackle which a few spray misses highlight only too clearly.

A mountain is being made out of a molehill about the sowing of GM contaminated spring oilseed rape. As usual, farmers will be the whipping boys for a problem quite clearly not of our making. I wonder how long it will be before the media latches on to the fact that livestock is fed large tonnages of GM soya in this country? &#42

Direct-drilled linseed is up and away at Coat, on Andrew Hebditchs farm.

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