Mike Cumming is manager
at Lour Farms, Ladenford,
Forfar, Angus, where spring
malting barley and seed potatoes occupy about half the 749ha (1850 acres). Other
crops include winter wheat,
barley and oats, oilseed
rape, swedes and grass
THIS exceptionally mild weather has given me some anxiety, as we still have over 120ha (300 acres) to plough and spring is almost here. Potato grading is the reason we are not further on with ploughing. We have been grading non-stop since the turn of the year. I must not complain, though. The stocks are keeping well and the more seed we can move off farm before March the better.
Since last writing, all the fertiliser has been delivered and 60t of home-saved spring barley seed dressed. At least we have the material to put in the ground once it is all ploughed.
I mentioned in January that I intended spraying for wheat bulb fly after high egg counts last autumn. Having inspected the crops, and considering the strong growth to date, only the later-sown fields after potatoes were treated with 2.8 litres/ha of Birlane. The rest are being watched closely, but so far, so good.
As I write, the first fungicide of the season is being applied. We are using 0.6 litres/ha of Torch plus 0.1 litres/ha of Sanction on Pastoral Winter barley.
The Winter oats are also due to get 0.35 litres/ha of BAS 464 plus 0.25 litres/ha of Alto any day now. Both these crops are filthy with mildew, the worst I have seen for years, and this first treatment is intended as a holding position until growth takes off.
Fertiliser applications include 65kg/ha N on to the Pastoral, with Commanche rape getting a total of 80kg/ha N, this being applied as Hydran S and thus adding sulphur at the same time.
In an effort to reduce the risk of lodging I will delay applying N to the winter wheat and oats for another week at least. These crops are quite lush on the whole. *
Potato seed stocks have kept well at Lour Farms, and grading is a top priority to clear them by early March. But mild weather is giving Mike Cumming plenty else to keep abreast of, and theres pressure to finish ploughing.