Archive Article: 2000/03/31

31 March 2000

Andrew Keeler

Andrew Keeler farms with

his parents at Church Farm,

Aylsham, Norfolk. Sugar

beet, potatoes, winter

wheat and premium malting

barley are grown on the

32ha (80-acre) farm

AT last I have caught up with the winter wheat spray programme, though strong winds delayed progress until the second week in March. Having a field with a garden fishpond only a few metres away really focuses the attention, especially when I found out some of the fish are worth £250 each.

I have used a mixture of 1 litre/ha of Ingot (ipu + flurtamone + diflufenican) topped up with 1.1 litre/ha of straight ipu, plus 15g/ha of Ally (metsulfuron-methyl) and 0.25 litres/ha of cypermethrin. Meadow grass is the main problem in our winter cereals but Ally was added to spice up the mixture as the grass is getting a bit big, pushing the cost up to £23.34/ha (£9.45/acre). We expect to go back again to clean up thistles and cleavers.

David, our Crop Care agronomist, and I have spent some time counting dead tillers, the tell-tale sign of the wheat bulb fly larva. Our conclusion was that at less than 25% of tillers affected, treatment at about £11/ha (£4.50/acre) wasnt justified. Some plants had seven tillers, and the average was five. As the variety is Claire I am confident we can afford to lose a few tillers without affecting the yield significantly.

All our winter cereals have received their first application of nitrogen, with 60kg/ha (48 units/acre) going on the wheat in the second week in March. Maris Otter barley will get its top up dose of 24kg/ha (19units/acre) during the first week in April bringing the total to 88kg/ha (70 units/acre). With strobilurins that should give a good yield and still leave nitrogen under 1.5%, the threshold for the full £40/t premium.

Last Friday I posted off my IACS forms, and by the time this is published we hope to have the beet drilled. Potatoes will be planted in early April as most seed is chitted and we dont like to plant any earlier for fear of late frosts. Lets hope that this crop of potatoes is worth a little more than the last.

All cereals have had their first dose of nitrogen, and Maris Otter winter barley will soon get its second, says Norfolk grower Andrew Keeler.

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