Justin Blackwood farms
562ha (1389 acres) from
Grange Farm, Great
Brington, Northants, on a
range of farming
hinges around winter wheat,
plus winter barley, rape,
peas, oats and occasionally
YET again we are held up by the weather. But this year, more than any, I need to finish autumn work early.
Towards the end of September it looked as though we would be drilled up by the first week of October. But here we are in the second half of October and still have 200ha (500 acres) of wheat to drill.
On a brighter note we have 182ha (450 acres) of oilseed rape well established with weeds well controlled by Butisan S (metazachlor) and trifluralin applied pre-emergence at 1 and 2litres/ha respectively.
That was followed by Pilot (quizalofop-ethyl) at 90ml/ha with adjuvant oil and cypermethrin at 250ml/ha in 100litres/ha of water applied by AirTec to control winter barley volunteers.
For wheat volunteers I prefer Fusilade 250 (fluazifop-P-butyl) at 200-250ml/ha depending on the size of the volunteers.
On the most advanced crops, I have found the first signs of phoma leaf spot. Weather conditions have been ideal for its development and we shall spray at the end October or early November to reduce disease levels.
Previously we have used Punch C (carbendazim + flusilazole) at 333ml/ha. This year we will do part with Plover (difenoconazole) at 200-250ml/ha plus carbendazim at 250ml to compare results.
Like everyone else, we have been looking hard at reducing costs still further and begun to make some important decisions. We must cut both labour and machinery costs still further. To this end we are looking at operating a much larger tractor to pull a disc, press and roll combination for any deeper soil movement required.
We still have to decide whether to stick with our existing drilling equipment or change to an expensive cultivator/single pass drill. I will have plenty of time to think this one through as I am off on a six-week drive from London to Cape Town at the end of the month. Hence my impatience to finish the autumn work.