James Moldon

6 November 1998

James Moldon

New Farmer Focus writer James Moldon in Suffolk was pleased with early beet yields of 45t/ha at 17.5% sugar in September. Now wet conditions are a worry, with the rest of the crop due for lifting this week.

James Moldon manages the

220ha (550 acres) heavy

land Stanaway Farm, Otley,

Suffolk, for the Felix

Thornley Cobbold

Agricultural Trust.

Crops include winter wheat,

barley, OSR, beans, linseed

and sugar beet

PLANTING oilseed rape started on the combine this year, with a new broadcaster system. Apex applied at 3-6kg/ha (2.7-5.3 lb/acre) mixed with 3kg/ha (2.7 lb/acre) Draza (methiocarb) and we have experimented with Apex broadcast into wheat prior to harvesting. Both were rolled immediately after sowing and again after the first rain, and look very promising so far. Conventionally established crops will provide a comparison.

We started drilling first wheats at 110kg/ha (0.9cwt/acre) on Sept 2, and finished Oct 12 at 160kg/ha (1.3cwt/acre) of Charger. All looks well apart from volunteer oilseed rape, so next year we hope to cut the seed rates even further.

Having Morley Research Centre trials on the farm helps us make varietal choices. Charger and Malacca are our second wheats this autumn, chosen for their ability to give high yields at later sowing dates. Despite rain delays, we finished drilling these on Oct 20, bar some Charger to be drilled after sugar beet lifting this week.

That is something of a concern, as we will have to lift it despite the wet condition of our heavy clay soils. The wheat drilling may have to wait for a frost.

My morning ritual of being blown off my feet as I walk straight past the sprayer continues. Only the weeds are benefiting from these conditions.

Oilseed rape is due 0.25 litres/ha of Plover (difenconazole) to tackle phoma, with 1.25kg/ha of Kerb (propyzamide) mixed in on our weediest crops.

First and second wheats will get 12kg/ha and 15kg/ha of Avadex 15G (triallate) respectively, followed by a tank mix of 3 litres/ha ipu plus 2 litres/ha trifluralin. Blackgrass, wild oats and brome are our main targets here.

Vast numbers of slugs have been sent to slug heaven with repeated doses of Draza and mini-pellets (metaldehyde), and all crops now seem to be growing well. By the time you read this hopefully winter beans will be too, if we can get on the land to drill!

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