Jim Macfarlane is farm
manager at Edrington
Berwickshire. Two thirds of
the 275ha (680-acre) unit
is arable, with winter wheat
the main breadwinner,
complemented by malting
barley, winter rape and peas
RAIN, rain and more rain punctuated by snow has been falling here most days for the past month.
Field work has been held back, but growth has slowed in the cold weather, so crops are now little more advanced than normal, which is no bad thing.
Most of our wheat fungicides are being applied about now, the last week in April, which I think is soon enough here. Most wheats wont reach GS 39 until the end of May, so if we go too soon it is a long time till the next application.
Septoria is the only obvious disease and I would rather delay now than have crops unprotected as the flag leaf emerges, when disease development is faster. Some forward Riband has missed its chlormequat timing, so here we have used Moddus (trinexapac-ethyl) at 0.15 litres/ha for the first time.
Fungicides have been a mixed bag, with Sportak Delta (cyproconazole + prochloraz) used on our second wheats and Sanction (flusilazole) elsewhere. Apres (quinoxfyfen) at 0.1 litres/ha has been tried in a comparison with our usual Patrol (fenpropidin) for mildew protection.
Winter barley has recovered remarkably well from the slug damage and looks well, if thin in places. The Regina has had 150kg/ha (120 units/acre) of nitrogen as the malting premium looks too low to make it worth compromising yield.
Our spring barley looks well just now. Manganese seed dressing was used and seems to be working because we do not have our usual deficiency symptoms yet. Slugs are grazing but with crops tillering they should cope.
In fact, all our crops are still being grazed by slugs, which is worrying. I spent a fortune over the winter trying to get rid of them. We must hope for a long dry spell to help reduce numbers for the autumn. Our heavy land copes well with drought and our best yields have come in years when we have been concerned about lack of moisture. *
Bright dry days this spring have been a rarity for Jim MacFarlane.