Ian Brown is a third
generation tenant on the
160ha (395-acre) Lee Moor
Farm, Rennington, Alnwick,
Northumberland where he
grows winter wheat, barley
and oilseed rape as well as
WELL we didnt build an ark, but it was tempting with 37% of the annual rain falling in April. The cold easterly winds have also meant that the hedges have gone a fairly unhealthy brown colour. I suspect all will recover in time.
The wheats have had their nitrogen brought up to 125kg/ha (100 units/acre) and will receive the rest soon, milling varieties receiving a late bag at flag leaf stage. There is discussion locally as to compensating nitrogen rates for the leaching which was caused by the rain. Figures are available which we would moderate bearing in mind good rooting, our clay soil and the number of days post application but before the rain.
Our oilseed rape is about to receive its mid-flower spray to keep the petal and stem-borne diseases in check. Winter barley had growth regulator, fungicide and trace elements at the end of April and the crops although a little weathered are well tillered and even. Getting timely and legal application of inputs has been tough this year but Alan (key operator) has done us proud.
There is nothing worse than those agri-politicians who say one thing and do another on their own farm, so having spoken on platforms in favour of machinery rings and farm assurance Lee Moor is now a member of both arrangements and I am more convinced than ever that they will add a strand of certainty in a very uncertain world.
A change of quad bike will allow us to offer a service cutting grass buffer strips of one metre upwards and spraying approved substances on hedges etc. This will be a growing area on our own and other farms as cross compliance becomes a reality. This area of farming is where threat and opportunity are all but neighbours.
Joining a machinery ring, farm assurance, a new quad-bike grass-cutting service…Ian Brown is ringing the changes at Lee Moor Farm, Northumberland.