Archive Article: 1999/03/12

12 March 1999

Welcome relaxation of buffer zone code

New rules governing spray buffer zones near watercourses are imminent. That is good news both for growers and the environment.

Unlike the arbitrary 6m restrictions currently hampering many products, the new rules will allow local environmental risk assessments of pesticides (LERAP). And, where risks are small, that could allow growers to spray far closer to watercourses than has been possible previously.

Some critics argue that LERAP ignores key factors affecting drift. They are right. But they also miss a key point. A simple scheme is far more likely to be used by growers than one encompassing too many factors.

LERAP promises to strike a happy balance between good farm practice and continued environmental protection.

Precision techniques lack precise advice

All dressed up and no where to go. Its hard to resist levelling that accusation against all the latest high tech precision farming techniques.

Developers of satellite navigation, yield mapping and soil mapping systems deserve praise for producing hardware capable of operating in the demanding climate created by combine harvesters, sprayers and fertiliser spreaders.

Sadly, so far, purchasers of such equipment have been woefully let down on the other side of the farm gate. Many have been disappointed by the lack of advice from those who should be helping them interpret and profit from the information.

Until agronomists develop some meaningful advice, its hard to imagine the technology becoming a real flier.

Wrapping it up for the next silaging season

It may be cold and damp now, but the silage season will soon be upon us. Make sure youre kitted up for it by winning one of three pieces of McHale equipment in our spring competition.

Entering the competition couldnt be more straightforward. Just read the guidelines that appear in this issueand our issues of Mar12, 19, 26 and Apr 2 and put the list of bale wrapper features into their correct order. Then simply fill in the coupon and send it to us. You could win either a round bale wrapper, a conventional bale wrapper or a bale handler for wrapped and unwrapped bales.

The total value of these exciting prizes is £13,200. And all it will cost you to enter is the price of a stamp!

Inglorious mud a real pain to stock industry

Theres certainly nothing glorious about mud if youre up to your ankles in it day after day.

And its more than frustrating if youve got stock inside and forage shortages looming.

Taking action now, in the form of buying brewers grains or maize gluten, could help counter forage shortages.

Considering turning stock out for only a short time, or perhaps only turning out the lightest animals might also help to minimise the problem.

But theres one thing for sure; a week of dry weather would be welcomed with open arms.

Clover very much the trend of the moment

Rather like flashy trainers, satellite TV and million £ footballers, clover is becoming trendy.

Both red and white clover are becoming more popular as many producers consider including a greater proportion in grass mixtures.

Clovers renewed popularity is a good example of how science has brought practical improvements for farmers.

Promises of improved longevity and greater nitrogen tolerance mean clover may no longer be a passing fad. It could be a long term trend used to help producers cut costs on all farms.

Sweet reward to tune of a grand prize…

How sweet is your beet? Have a go at our FARMERS WEEKLY/Dow AgroSciences Sugar Beet Challenge and it could be sweeter still.

One thousand pounds is up for grabs for farmers who can show true beet growing prowess. Best practice is the name of the game, rather than outright yield.

So if you make a good job of growing this important crop why not have a go at winning some more recognition?

And theres a free calculator for every entry received.

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