19 June 1998


William Hamilton

William Hamilton is tenant

on the 205ha (506-acre)

Rosery Farm, Little

Stonham, Stowmarket,

Suffolk. Main crops are

winter wheat and oilseed

rape but he also grows

winter beans and

vining peas

SHOWERY weather has made our crop of Target winter beans grow and grow.

I am reminded of Jack and the Beanstalk – perhaps we were supplied with some magic bean seed!

Before May was out they had received two visits from our sprayer, once to control Ascochyta and again to deal with powdery mildew. Manganese sulphate was added on both occasions.

The final split of N for our winter wheat was soon followed by the flag leaf fungicide spray this year. Aphox (pirimicarb) was added to control some green fly which had decided to squat in our wheat. What little Terpal (2-chloroethylphosphonic acid + mepiquat chloride) we could scrounge this year was reserved for crops of Charger and one field of Abbot which followed winter beans.

We have started roguing our seed crops and helping a neighbour do the same. I sometimes think the C2 grade of seed which we produce is of a higher purity than the C1 which we plant. Where does the barley come from when we have not grown the crop for nearly 30 years? I have my suspicions!

Recently Angus and I went to view trials of a new blackgrass herbicide, which we were told will also control barley growing in the wheat crop. I suggested that certain seed houses supply some of this product with their C1 seed.

Our Fiat 160 tractor has been away for a spring break to have a new clutch plate fitted. At the end of last years ploughing season it was showing signs of giving up the ghost. Rather than risk a protracted breakdown this autumn the problem has been dealt with now by Paul Williams and his team at Hemingstone. &#42

Mike Cumming

Mike Cumming is manager

at Lour Farms, Ladenford,

Forfar, Angus, where spring

malting barley and seed

potatoes occupy about half

the 749ha (1850 acres).

Other crops include winter

wheat, barley and oats,

oilseed rape, swedes and grass

FOUR weeks of warm, damp weather has prevented spring barley from capping.

Weak plants in areas flooded during April have had ideal conditions in which to survive and recover. The crop now looks much more promising.

Although the damp weather has increased disease pressure, as well as reducing spraying days, our programme is now up to date. Weed control in spring barley was based on 30g/ha of Harmony (metsulfuron-methyl + thifensulfuron-methyl) plus 1l/ha of Duplosan (mecoprop-p).

Severe mildew pressure on Prisma led to 0.1 litres/ha of Fortress (quinoxyfen), 0.1 litres/ha of Sanction (flusilazole) and 0.35 litres/ha of BAS 464 (fenpropimorph + tridemorph) being applied. The Chariot and Landlord had 0.12 litres/ha of Sanction plus 0.7 litres/ha of Bravo-carb (carbendazim + chlorothalonil) as a Rhynco treatment at second node. As for the wheat, we have just applied a flag spray based on 0.35 litres/ha of Landmark (kresoxim-methyl + epoxiconazole) plus 0.75 litres/ha of Terpal (2-chloroethyl-phosphonic acid + mepiquat chloride). This followed a second node treatment comprising 0.35 litres/ha of Ensign (fenpropimorph + kresoxim-methyl), 0.35 litres/ha of Bravo (chlorothalonil) and 2kg/ha of Thiovit (sulphur).

I am not too sure if splitting the strob this way will be a success. Fields that had rain within two hours of the Ensign going on needed 0.35 litres/ha of Tern (fenpropidin) at flag leaf as mildew could be found on leaf three.

The Terpal was the final growth reg. After two applications of 1 litre/ha of Meteor (chlormequat + choline chloride + imazaquin) at first and second node.

Despite late season sales and a commendable effort by Nickerson, our main seed potato merchant, June again finds substantial tonnages of unwanted controlled variety seed stocks, mostly S E Growers, being disposed of free for uplift.

Contracts are typically based on 25t/ha seed commitment with derisory settlement clauses for unsold stocks. These clauses in particular, after two years of rigorous enforcement, have built up a strong feeling of resentment among growers. They now feel they take too high a share of risk for too small a share of returns. Merchant trade take note, you risk alienating growers at your peril. &#42

Leonard Morris

Leonard Morris is tenant at

206ha (510-acre) White

House Farm, South Kyme

Fen, Lincoln. His heavy land

grows winter wheat and

oilseed rape and spring peas

and linseed. Lighter ground

is cropped with potatoes,

spring rape and linseed

I HAVE just returned from an interesting day at Cereals 98; luckily the weather turned out kinder than the forecast would have suggested, with only a few light showers.

It looked to be a very well attended day with interesting demonstrations and trials.

One thing visitors to the area will have noticed is a lot of blackgrass showing this year. News of new chemicals for its control was high on my agenda. There are some interesting new sprays on the way, but unfortunately it sounds like another two years before they will be available for farm use.

Our Australian student keeps informing me that we spray too much. They only spray once or twice a year using an aeroplane. Wheat yields average about 7.4t/ha (3t/acre), with 8.6t/ha (3.5t/acre) for rice. They have just finished rice harvest with one field yielding 11.9t/ha (4.8t/acre). If only I could get away with that.

May finished with me spraying the linseed on the light farm with Ally (metsulfuron-methyl) at 30g/ha with 20ml/ha of Enhance as a wetter. The spring oilseed rape then received its last 250kg/ha of ammonium nitrate, and the linseed on the heavy land received 120kg/ha of ammonium nitrate. This was immediately followed by 33m of rain. Unfortunately, the rain also brought strong winds and heavy squalls, sending some wheat down in patches. The Apex winter oilseed rape went down badly, as has a lot of oilseed rape in the area, but Pronto hybrid oilseed rape has stood the poor weather better.

All we need now is some warm sunny weather. A lack of sunshine in June always seems to lead to poorer yields at harvest.

As soon as we get some spraying weather the wheat will need its final fungicide spray as it is nicely out in ear. The light land crops will also need their trace element spray of manganese and boron. &#42

Bill Harbour

Bill Harbour, last 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 the

Countryside Steward scheme

AFTER we had finished flag leaf spraying and a few other urgent jobs I decided to take a week off, hooking up the caravan and spending a few days in Shropshire.

I was surprised to see Soissons winter wheat there growing so far west. But I was told it does very well, coming off early without the need for much drying in a good year.

The rest of the week was spent in Snowdonia. No I did not take the train, we climbed Snowdon – what a view.

On our way home crops looked good all the way, except for fields of Brigadier with very obvious yellow patches.

As soon as we got home the real world hit us again – mail, faxes, e-mail messages. The most urgent was from Agribulk. Glencore wanted all the wheat and oilseed rape loading out, starting at seven the next morning. In four days we moved 875t. All I can say is thank goodness for mobile phones. And a JCB.

This years crops now look well, the ears are out and the next job will be to give all the wheat an ear wash. We plan to use Amistar (azoxystrobin) at 0.3-0.35 litres/ha. Last year we had some black point on the milling wheat – I hope Amistar will help this time round.

Both the peas and the winter beans have aphids, so they will get some Aphox (pirimicarb), mixed with Alto Elite (chlorothalonil + cyproconazole) to cover all the fungal disorders. I have only caught five pea moths so far. But then it is early days.

The linseed has had 30g/ha of Ally (metsulfuron-methyl) to keep the poppies at bay.

Milling wheat will all get some liquid N to boost the protein, but this will be done by a contractor. Both Consort and Abbot have tipped flag leaves that make them look untidy, but at least we have managed to keep the yellow rust away. &#42

Target winter beans have grown like Topsy on the Suffolk farm of William (left) and Angus Hamilton. Two sprayer passes have kept the crop clean.

Favourable weather has boosted crop growth on Mike Cummings Forfar farm, especially the spring barley. But substantial tonnages of unwanted controlled variety seed stocks mean potato prospects are far from rosy.

Wheat on Leonard Morris Lincs farm was ready for an ear spray by last Wednesday. But he wishes he were in the land of Oz, where wheat only needs two sprays – both applied from the air.

Bill Harbours Consort and Abbot wheats suffered some leaf tipping from flag leaf sprays – but at least yellow rust was kept at bay. Next priority is an Amistar ear wash to nail black point.

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