Bill Harbour

7 November 1997

Bill Harbour

Bill Harbour, this years

southern barometer farmer,

is manager for Gosmere

Farm Partners at 448ha

(1107-acre) Gosmere Farm,

Sheldwich, Faversham,

Kent. Crops include wheat,

barley, oilseed rape, peas

and beans plus

cherries under Countryside

Steward scheme


WE finished our drilling on Oct 14 leaving just 26.5ha (65 acres) of Punch beans to be ploughed in later.

We started on Sept 16 with Abbot wheat at 110kg/ha (98lb/acre) followed by Consort, Regina barley, Hussar, Brigadier, Reaper, Charger and Hereward. Nearly all were from home-saved seed treated with Beret Gold (fludioxynil) except for the Regina which had Raxil (tebuconazole + triazoxide).

Seed rates were calculated by thousand grain weight and sowing date. The only exception was the last 8ha (20 acres) of Charger next to a plot of game cover maize and a release pen where we used 170kg/ha (152lb/acre).

For next year I bought a 500kg bag each of Abbot, Madrigal, Hereward, Brigadier, Consort, Charger, Soissons, and Malacca all at CI. I thought that Soissons would be better for us than barley as it yields as well if not better and we can use it as double use storage at Weald Granary.

My decision to buy a rubber-tyred Packerflex roller for the new power harrow has paid off. Last season I had a lot of trouble with the roller stopping on our chalky banks. This was made worse with plastic scrapers. I spent two days last year cleaning and resetting them. This year the equipment just rolls over flints and is self cleaning.

The other bit of kit changing was to upgrade to a 4m front press. This has speeded up ploughing making it a faster cheaper operation, and it does not slow down the drill.

We are busy spraying the cereals with Stomp/IPU (pendimethalin/isoproturon), which comes in 25litre Ecomatic drums, and cypermethrin.

The oilseed rape will all have Punch C (carbendazim + flusilazole) fungicide. It has already had Falcon (propaquizafop) to clear up the cereals. Avadex Excel (tri-allate) is being applied by a contractor to most of the cereals. The 80ha (198 acres) of stubbles due to be ploughed for peas and beans have been sprayed with Roundup (glyphosate) and Ethokem adjuvant.

Today I saw my first flock of pigeons. With all this modern technology I wonder if I could NET my OSR with an interactive web of Email.

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