Peter Hogg farms in
partnership with his brother
at Causey Park Farm, near
Half the 450ha (1100-acre)
heavyland farm is in crops,
mainly winter wheat, barley
and oilseed rape, plus a few
AT last the sun is shining and we have just started applying T1 sprays.
We are in the nick of time to for using chlormequat, which is going on with Opus (epoxiconazole), mixed with Sportak (prochloraz) to combat eyespot on the second wheats. Cleavers will need tackling too, but I am undecided whether to do whole fields or headlands and patches.
As for April, it was a wash out. But it did mean my trip to Hants with my rusty old wife and Alfa Romeo – oops, that should read rusty old Alfa Romeo and wife – for the Alfa Clubs spring meeting at Beaulieu did not waste any spray days. April is meant to be the month of showers. We had just one shower, but it lasted all month.
At the end of March our Apex oilseed rape, grown from home-saved seed, received 0.6 litres/ha of Folicur (tebuconazole). That is the only fungicide it is getting and the next time I hope to look at the crop will be as it empties from the trailers into the store.
We have attempted to cut all our costs on the crop this year. A large proportion of the seed-bed was prepared without the plough, a first for us. Stubble was disced twice and sown immediately with a 4m Lely combination drill. Twice over with the Cambridge rollers finished the job and the fields sown in this way needed no slug pellets. The whole farm is having a phosphate and potash holiday, so none of that was applied either.
Grass weed control was cut to a quarter rate of Falcon (propaquizafop) tank-mixed with a quarter rate of deltamethrin, followed a few weeks later by three-quarter rate Kerb (propizamide) and a further quarter rate of deltamethrin. Historically we have used a full-rate Kerb.
As I write, only 50kg/ha (40 units/acre) of nitrogen has gone on, applied as urea towards the end of March. Winter oats have had nothing and the potato field is still to be ploughed. Time to press on. *
April was one long shower in Northumberland, says new Farmer Focus writer Peter Hogg. At least no spray days were missed on a trip south with the old Alfa. The plough has figured little in preparing seed-beds this season.