17 July 1998


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 Countryside

Steward scheme

AS I write, we are about to start to desiccate our oilseed rape crop.

I shall be using Harvest (glufosinate-ammonium). Although twice the price of others it is a true desiccant. It not only kills all the rape and the weeds but it does not make the plant brittle like diquat does.

I need to get the crop in and out as quickly as possible because of wheat coming in to store. If the result is an early, quick and dry harvest I hope I can justify the cost. I have always found that glyphosate does not kill the rape and you may as well wait for three weeks.

We have sprayed the peas for pea moth with 0.1 litres/ha of Hallmark (lambda-cyhalothrin) and 2 litres/ha of Bravocarb (carbendazim + chlorothalonil) to keep downy mildew off the pods. I caught loads of moths this year.

The Punch beans have had 0.3 litres/ha of Decis (deltamethrin) against bruchid beetle and 1 litre/ha of Bravo (chlorothalonil) just to keep the chocolate spot at bay for a week or two. The beans look well podded right down the ground, unlike some crops which are too thick for the first 75cm (30in) and are falling over.

It is the season of meetings. I did not go to Cereals 98, but I did go to the NIAB open day and Sprays and Sprayers. I met a lot of friends and had a look at the new varieties on offer.

Tomorrow I am off to Rockingham for the BDR trials. These are always well worth a visit to see the 4ha (10-acre) plots put in by Ray Dalton and his farm staff and to have a chat with Tim Hirst and his BDR team. We have 11ha (27 acres) of Abbot for seed for them.

I think next years crops will be much the same. But out will go Brigadier and in will come Rialto and maybe some Claire. &#42

Bill Harbour has found pea moths plentiful this season in his Bunting for seed. The whole crop has since gone flat. "It is an old fashioned variety," he says. "But I am hopeful for a good yield."

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

HARVEST has begun in mid-Suffolk with the start of the vining pea season.

Our groups chairman, Nigel Merriam, tells me he is well pleased with yields of the early sown crops, all Avola.

On this farm our field of Novella has been treated with Phantom (pirimicarb) to control an invasion of greenfly. A small part of the crop has also been sprayed with Bravocarb (carbendazim + chlorothalonil) fungicide in a trial to see if there is a worthwhile benefit. That may depend on the weather between now and vining.

All our winter wheats had their ear wash spray in mid-June using Amistar (azoxystrobin) for the first time. Let us hope this new product lives up to expectations with the price of wheat quoted as low as £65/t off the combine. We do need some massive yields but only time will tell. But I do predict a large quantity of straw this year.

With the exception of some small lodged patches in one field of Abbot, I am pleased to say the crop remains upright. The field of Abbot in which we had a few problems last autumn now looks particularly well. The lower plant population has helped to keep it standing.

Angus has been through the winter beans with a tank mix of insecticide and some fungicide to control bruchid beetle and chocolate spot. That was after a new clutch had to be fitted to the Clayton tractor unit, which carries our Knight Crusader sprayer.

On one of the many showery days recently, I spent some time looking at our latest farm accounts to Mar 31,1998. I expect the story is a familiar one. Sales figures for all arable crops are well down on the previous year, helped only by a marginal reduction in variable costs. Luckily increasing contract work has largely made up the income shortfall. I hope the bank manager agrees with my interpretation of the figures. &#42

Bruchid beetle and chocolate spot have needed treating in William Hamiltons beans. Vining peas have yet to be cut on the farm, but early yields elsewhere are said to be good.

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

BY now all our cereal spraying should have been completed with costs close to budget.

Our target for spring barley herbicide/fungicides was £40.75/ha (£16.50/acre), and it looks as if we will beat this, albeit by only a few pence.

The Chariot and Landlord required two splits of 0.15litres/ha DUK 747 (flusilazole) at £17.43/ha (£7.05/acre) to keep rhynchosporium at bay while the Prisma, as usual, cost substantially more to keep clean. It had a programme consisting of morpholine + DUK 747 with 0.1 litres/ha of Fortress (quinoxyfen) in late May followed by morpholine/Bravocarb (carbendazim + chlorothalonil) in early July – total cost £33.80/ha (£13.68/acre).

Mildew pressure on Prisma is now so great that this popular Scottish varietys area seems certain to be reduced in 1999. The dramatic results we saw from Fortress may stem this slide, however, as the single application in late May kept mildew at bay for about five weeks. Lessons have been learned and I intend to split the product next year and start spraying far earlier.

As for the wheat, our herbicide/fungicide spend against budget of £111.15/ha (£44.98/acre) is likely to end up around £115/ha (£46.50/acre), the result of using 0.35 litres/ha of Amistar as a head spray in light of the dreadful summer (what summer?).

I think the decision to use a programme heavily based around strobilurins has paid off as the wheat looks promising. One hard lesson I have learned is to treat wheat following winter oats with a wild oat herbicide from now on. I have one field of Riband after laid oats with such a high oat content it could be mistaken for muesli.

An alternative crop? Alas not, due to a lack of readily available raisins to complete the mix. It would be a good yarn to spin to the neighbours, though. &#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

WITH a total of 55mm (2.2in) of rain finishing off June we saw little sunshine and it took quite a while to get the wheat ear sprays completed.

We used 0.25 litres/ha of Amistar (azoxystrobin) with 0.25 litres/ha of Folicur (tebuconazole).

With the weather as it is this year I think that final spray will be important.

We have also sprayed the peas with pirimicarb, Hallmark (lambda-cyhalothrin), and Rover (chlorothalonil) to control aphids, pea moth and botrytis.

June and July are the main months for variety trials and farm walks. I have been on some interesting visits to a local farm organised by ADAS, and NIAB variety trials sponsored by Brown Butlin.

July has started dry, but cloudy, and the lack of sunshine is now worrying. Some wheats in the area have white patches starting to show up. Rape is being swathed fast, but, as most is laid, it is not being left on much of a stubble. I would expect ours to be ready for swathing within a week.

The spring linseed and oilseed rape are coming to the end of flowering. The linseed, especially, looks a respectable crop for the year. But the peas and linseed seem to be suffering from late germinating weeds. Both crops were clean at the start of flowering, but now have quite a weed population.

We try to get some building maintenance done at this time of year. Unfortunately the continual damp, drizzly days have not helped and we have doors in varying stages of being painted as harvest fast approaches.

My wife has just had to have an operation which will leave her with a leg in plaster for the next 16 weeks. Summer holidays start in two weeks, so I am investigating the latest scientific developments in cloning to see if I can really be in four places at one time. &#42

Hard-to-apply ear wash sprays should prove their worth this year, says Leonard Morris.

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