Andrew Keeler

27 July 2001

Andrew Keeler

Andrew Keeler farms with

his parents at Church Farm,

Aylsham, Norfolk. Sugar

beet, potatoes, winter

wheat and premium malting

barley are grown on the

32ha (80 acre) farm

AFTER two weeks holiday it is noticeable how things have changed. Sugar beet has covered the ground – apart from a patch or two that flooded after heavy June rain – potatoes are meeting across the rows and flowering, barley is turning a nice shade of yellow and wheat has finished flowering.

Harvest preparations are complete, with the barn cleaned and checked for pests, combine made ready, trailers washed out and moisture meter MOTd, all of which has been recorded for ACCS purposes.

We hope to start cutting barley by the end of the month.

Aphids have built up in the potato canopy and we have had to use an insecticide with the latest blight spray over the whole crop. We have also taken precautions against cutworm following the dry spell at the end of June.

We have been doing test digs to find the right time to apply growth regulator to most of the crop. Given the late planting we were surprised at the size and quantity of tubers on each root.

There was an average of 12 over 25mm (the minimum size to apply growth regulator because tubers smaller than this will not grow once the crop has been treated). Some were already at saleable size.

Given these results, Source II (potassium salt of maleic hydrazide) was applied recently. We use the product to control sprouting in store and to help control volunteers in sugar beet.

Spraying gives you a good view over the whole crop, instead of the small snapshot seen on foot. At present it looks good.

At the start of the month we took advantage of the opening offer on nitrogen and bought next years requirements. This time we have ordered some with added sulphur for the first all-round application next spring. This year we are paying £109/t for both, last year it cost us £113/t for July delivery. &#42

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