Dennis Ford farms 384ha
(950 acres) from Home
Farm, Hinton Parva,
Swindon, Wilts. One-third is
owned, two-thirds tenanted
and a small area contract
farmed. Cropping is winter
wheat, barley, rape and
beans, plus spring rape,
linseed and flax
AT last the panic is over; harvest is gone and forgotten and now we are looking forward to next year.
All the crops went into good seed-beds, but some dried out in places leading to uneven germination. But most plants are now through and in clear drill lines.
The hybrid winter oilseed rape has yet to stop growing and is looking well ahead of itself. Could this mean an early harvest? Some slug pellets have been applied to the heavy ground, more in expectation of trouble than as a response to grazing. The lighter ground has not shown any indications of trouble, but no doubt slugs are waiting to pounce.
At the time of writing the fine, frosty weather is coming to an end. We have been keen to get started on the spraying for some time, but held off on the advice of our agronomist, Mike.
Spraying of Kerb (propyzamide) and cypermetherin on the winter oilseed rape has now been completed, even though some of the tramlines were not visible due to the excessive growth.
The winter wheat is due to be sprayed with IPU and Ardent (trifluralin + diflufenican). Some blackgrass is now past the one-leaf stage and, as most of the winter wheat and barley plants are now through the ground and hardened by the frost, it is safe to spray.
Some of the downland has not received any rain for nearly a month, and some leaves are starting to turn blueish, green. I am told that this is due to lack of potash, thanks to the dry weather and cold winds. Perhaps this will change. At least with some wet weather ahead I can concentrate on my budget again. When I need cheering up I might go and see The Full Monty. *