Brian Lock

13 March 1998

Brian Lock

Brian Lock farms rented and

owned land in Dorset,

including 200ha (500

acres) at Silverlake Farm,

Sherborne. Cropping

includes wheat and barley

for feed, seed and malting markets plus oilseed rape

and herbage seed

UP until the end of February we were blessed with the most favourable weather, far better than I could have dared to hope for.

We have more or less caught up with all of our outstanding arable work and have made a satisfactory start on the first round of spring fertilising, spraying and sowing.

All our winter wheat has received its first dose of ammonium nitrate 34.5% at 125kg/ha (1cwt/acre) and the crops are already showing a response. The balance of the autumn and winter spraying has been completed on the cereals and the herbage seeds.

Some strong blackgrass in a crop of Elgon perennial ryegrass had not been treated with Leyclene (bromoxynil + ethofumesate + ioxynil) and TCA until early January. This was sprayed towards the end of February with 1 litre/ha of Cheetah S (fenoxaprop-P-ethyl) plus mineral oil. That certainly knocked the blackgrass, whether it has killed it time will tell.

We have completed most of our spring barley sowing. This year, for the first time, we are growing Optic on a malting contract. It was sown into good conditions in late February at 177kg/ha (158lb/acre).

This seeding rate is much higher than our normal 150kg/ha (134lb/acre). But it was necessary to achieve the prescribed 350 seeds a sq m. As this two-year contract for 1997 and 1998 crops is particularly favourable on price, provided we achieve the relevant specification, I am most anxious to follow all the specified guidelines.

Last week we started loading out 1997 Chariot malting barley grown on this contract. Needless to say I was extremely nervous, bearing in mind all the horror stories and the fact that each load was travelling 250 miles to the maltster. Fortunately we have only had one rejection in eight loads to date. That was because of a low vitascope, which is not confirmed on our own machine. We shall see. &#42

Ideal conditions for drilling have seen good progress with Optic on Brian Locks Dorset farm. Attractive contract terms meant rigorous attention to seed rate to meet all guidelines given.

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