Ian Pigott

28 September 2001

Ian Pigott

Ian Pigott farms 690ha

(1700 acres) of owned,

rented, share-farmed and

contract-farmed land in

partnership with his father

from Thrales End,

Harpenden, Herts. Wheat,

oilseed rape, spring barley,

beans and peas are the main

crops on the flinty,

medium clay soils

ANYONE need extra crop storage? I am sure we could oblige at a very competitive rate because the stores are hardly full to the gunnels. As harvest progressed so yields became more and more disappointing.

I have a worrying sense of deja vu. Rain continues to fall and we already have surface water lying in some fields. However, most of our first wheat is in the ground and chitting well. We have drilled mostly Consort, at 170 kg/ha (1.4cwt/acre). The remainder will be Xi19 and Malacca, seed rate to depend on when we can plant them and the state of the seed-bed. The closer we get to October the closer to 200 kg/ha (1.6cwt/acre) we will be.

Last weekend we hosted the local district ploughing match. My conscience is still pricking me hence the need for a written apology in FARMERSWEEKLY. What the ploughmen probably didnt expect was a field of knotgrass interspersed with the odd tuft of stubble. The field in question was a calamity of last years wet weather. It was an obvious choice for redrilling but never dried out so we opted for the minimal input option, ie "it doesnt justify having anything spent on it so we wont".

The fruits of that decision were plain to see and I have to say the entrants made a very difficult task appear, if not easy, bearable. We had a very good turnout and I would hate anyone to think the reason we held it there was because we didnt want to plough it ourselves. I suppose there is no point in having a conscience unless you use it.

The one winner in this frustrating season is the oilseed rape. All of it is through the ground and lapping up the rain. Now it would benefit from a bit of sun and some compound to cheer it up. Falcon (propaquizafop) at 0.3 litres/ha appears to be doing a good job killing volunteers and at present slugs are not too much of a problem. &#42

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