Jim Bullock farms 283ha
(700 acres) in partnership
with his parents and brother
at Mill Farm, Guarlford,
Malvern, Worcs. Two-thirds
is rented or contract farmed,
the rest owned. Cropping is
winter wheat, winter oilseed
rape and winter beans
HERE we are at the end of the first week in April and it is too wet to get onto the land. The tramlines are all full of water and the land drains are running as fast as they were at the end of January.
Its quite a contrast to last year when we had drought from mid-March through until the first week in May. I would rather have a wet time now than at harvest.
The extremes of weather patterns are becoming even more noticeable, particularly with regards to rainfall. Heavy downpours are leading to more soil erosion and surface runoff than we would like to see.
Crops have grown well in the past three weeks. Most wheat has reached GS31 with forward crops in advance of GS32. Fortunately, we managed to apply the first growth regulator Adjust (chlormequat) and fungicide PP375 (chlorothalonil + flutriafol) to the more advanced crops before the weather deteriorated.
The wet weather has brought on another flush of weeds in some of the crops, especially redshank, which will need spraying if conditions allow it to compete with the crop.
Most of the wheat will be ready for its main nitrogen top dressing of 106kg/ha (85 units/acre) in the next 7-10 days, with another application of 42.5kg/ha (34 units/acre) planned for early May. We have applied 62.5kg/ha (50 units/acre) so far.
The Apex oilseed rape grew over 30cm (12in) in a week and looked as if it would be in full flower by the end of March, but cold nights have slowed it down considerably. There are a few flowers showing in the crop but the remainder is still at green bud stage.
We have seen some pollen beetle on one or two of the flowers but no sign of any in the buds as yet. Hopefully, colder weather will reduce their numbers.
It is our policy to spend as little as possible on beans, but Target will soon need spraying for pea and bean weevil, as well as chocolate spot present on some of the lower leaves. *
Wet weather has confined the sprayer and fertiliser spreader to the yard on Jim Bullocks Worcestershire farm.