Archive Article: 2001/03/23

23 March 2001

Stewart Hayllor

BY making the most of available good weather, we have only one field planned for winter crops that missed out. But spring fieldwork is, yet again, being hampered by wet weather and we have no spring barley or oilseed rape drilled.

I would also like to report progress on potato planting, but looking out the window tells a different story.

Pronto and Gemini oilseed rape have come through the winter well and nitrogen and fungicide applications are being planned. Wheats are thin to very thin in places, so nitrogen applications and growth regulators will be timed to maintain and encourage tillers. Most have already had 38kg/ha (30 units/acre) of nitrogen.

Beans are emerging well and have been sprayed with simazine at 2 litres/ha while oats range from strong early drilled crops to ones which have not yet emerged. Timing of inputs is going to be a complicated affair for all crops with so many differing growth stages.

The first signs of optimism for farming of a few weeks ago have been well and truly snuffed out by the outbreak and rapid spread of foot-and-mouth disease. All farms, either directly or indirectly, seem sure to suffer from what is fast becoming a national disaster.

Trying to keep up to date with the spread of the disease has meant frequent visits to web-sites and listening to many TV and radio news reports.

With Devon so badly affected, all our farming activities are subject to risk assessments and we are delaying work away from the farm as much as possible to avoid unnecessary transport onto or off the farm.

Horrendous stories of slaughtered stock being left on farms for more than a week before disposal undermine all confidence in Nick Browns claims to have the outbreak under control.

Here in the south-west, the NFU – especially the regional director Anthony Gibson – has excelled in its handling of the situation, keeping the information flowing and presenting facts with authority and common sense. &#42

Stewart Haylor farms 343ha

(850 acres) of owned and

rented land from Blackler

Barton, Landscove, Devon,

growing cereals and

combinable breaks. Organic

vegetables occupy 24ha

(60 acres) and a further

160ha (400 acres) is farmed

on contract

Stewart Hayllor has put operations on out-lying land on hold due to the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

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