Simon Wadlow farms 200ha
(500 acres) at The Croft,
near Bridgnorth, Shropshire.
Key crops are winter wheat
and sugar beet, plus winter
oats, barley, oilseed rape
and beans. Forage maize,
set-aside and pasture make
up the balance
AT LAST we have time to catch our breath and do some much needed work with the livestock.
The second week of November sees us with all next years combinable crops planted and the sugar beet harvest and deliveries well up to schedule.
Drilling started on Sept 25, which was a few days later than planned, but all bar one field of wheat was sown by Oct 18. If it wasnt for slugs I would be quite relaxed with the way everything looks. But despite applying a mix of Genesis (thiodicarb) and Mini Slug Pellets (metaldehyde) over 24ha (60 acres), we still have 2ha (4-5 acres) that have been badly thinned.
Current cereal prices have led me to pursue any option that will help to reduce costs, without compromising yield hopefully. Therefore 80% of seed used this autumn has been home saved.
Variety choice has largely been a case of staying with the tried and trusted. Winter barley is Regina, a variety that did very well here this year and some has gone for malting.
After only one year naked oats have been dropped and the oat slot is being filled by Aintree. The naked oat premium has been reduced and with the yield only two-thirds that of normal oats they cannot be justified. Aintree also has the big advantage of being ready to combine before the wheat.
Consort and Brigadier with a small area of Charger are the preferred wheat varieties.
The last week of October saw us ploughing in the Striker winter beans. These were drilled into the stubble with the combination drill and then ploughed in. A pass with the power harrow with the packer removed saw the job completed in ideal conditions.
Charger was planted after sugar beet on November 1. The ground ploughed up much drier than some sown three or four weeks earlier and it went in quite nicely to complete the sowing for this year.n
Good progress with autumn cereal establishment has only been marred by heavy slug pressure, says Shropshire farmer Simon Wadlow.