Jim Bullock farms 283ha
(700 acres) in partnership
with his parents and brother
at Mill Farm, Guarlford,
Malvern, Worcs. Two-thirds
is rented or contract farmed,
the rest owned. Cropping is
winter wheat, winter oilseed
rape and winter beans.
HAVING been away from the farm for a few days it is surprising to see how the later mid-October sown wheats have caught up with the earlier September drilled crops.
Frosts down to -7C (18F) in late October did not do some of the more forward crops a lot of good. Rialto showed the most damage, but the mild weather now is helping it grow away again.
About two-thirds of our autumn spraying is done. So far we have used our usual IPU/DFF mix, varying the IPU rate according to blackgrass severity. I know we should be looking at other products, but with IPU at £16 for 5 litres it is a good starting point.
The wheat left to spray will be treated with different products, such as Lexus Class (flupyrsulfuron-methyl + carfentrazone-ethyl) and Treflan (trifluralin), where we know we have difficult blackgrass.
The Apex oilseed rape had 42.5kg/ha (34 units/acre) of nitrogen at the end of October to give it a bit of a boost. It was drilled later than we would have liked and needed to grow away from the pigeons.
Our Target winter beans were ploughed down during the latter part of October and are now beginning to emerge. Beans are a crop where we need to keep our inputs to an absolute minimum and I think mechanical weeding could help. At the Agritechnica event in Germany, I saw various such machines on show. They could be particularly useful for removing some of the expensive-to-control broad-leaved weeds in early spring.
Direct drilling also seemed to be in fashion at the German show. Several companies were showing equipment for spreading chopped straw evenly before using the drill. The aim is to produce no more than 25mm (1in) of tilth, in which weed seeds and volunteers can quickly germinate before being sprayed off before drilling. *
A visit to the Agritechnica machinery show in Germany has fired Jim Bullock with ideas for cutting bean and cereal production costs.