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.
IT has been relatively dry this past fortnight, which has enabled us to catch up with one or two of the more urgent jobs, such as spraying out some quite large grass weeds in the oilseed rape and volunteer beans in wheat.
Some of the rape on poorer, thinner soils is beginning to show signs of sulphur deficiency. This is probably due to it being mid-September drilled, poorly rooted and standing in water for the past two months.
One or two fields of wheat, again later drilled (mid-October), are beginning to look a bit yellow, too. We have got wet areas reappearing where we have not seen them for three or four years, so we are going to have to do some careful field walking before we go out with the first application of nitrogen at the end of the month.
Last week I attended a BASIS Crop Protection Management course at the RAC Cirencester. It was well worth doing. Not only was it useful revision, but it also highlighted the legislation that, as users of pesticides, we are now subject to.
This will be essential as we all become more involved with crop assurance and traceability. It also made me realise that in future, with tighter margins and the need to make instant decisions, full BASIS training will be necessary.
Also at the RAC, I attended an Integrated Crop Management workshop. When the College held its last ICM workshop two years ago it had difficulty filling all the places. This time it was over-subscribed, with over 140 farmers and advisers attending. That goes to show the interest in the subject.
Like the Assured Combinable Crops schemes, ICM initially looks like something to avoid. But when you come to understand it, all you are looking at is realistic farm management. *
Having caught up with the more urgent field-work, including looking into wet spots that have reappeared after three or four years, Jim Bullock has been getting up to date with a BASIS Course and an ICM Workshop at the RAC, Cirencester. Both have given him a more optimistic view of current and likely future constraints on the arable sector.