Justin Blackwood

13 March 1998

Justin Blackwood

Justin Blackwood farms

562ha (1389 acres) from

Grange Farm, Great

Brington, Northants, on a

range of farming

agreements. Cropping

hinges around winter wheat,

plus winter barley, rape,

peas, oats and occasionally


ALL our crops look very advanced, the oilseed rape has been growing for most of the year and started even more rapid growth in the past two weeks.

It has had 88kg/ha (70 units/acre) of nitrogen plus sulphur and will receive another 125kg/ha (100 units/acre) with sulphur as Liquid N35S by mid-March.

I intend using a mix of Folicur (tebuconazole) plus 3C Cycocel on the 40ha (100 acres) of Martina industrial rape for disease control and to prevent lodging during the later stages of flowering. If March is mild, I think we will see some rape flowers before the month is out.

Our winter beans, which were ploughed in, were harrowed during dry conditions in late February. Simazine herbicide has also been applied. Winter peas look as strong and forward as I have ever seen them; maybe too thick this year.

Ploughed-in and tine-drilled spring beans are emerging, but rook activity is a problem. When soil are dry they can easily dig down 7.5cm (3in) or even 10cm (4in). Recent rain and wetter soils should slow them up, but we will have to be vigilant for a couple of weeks yet. Most wheat and barley is at or approaching the stem erect growth stage (GS30) and has had 37-63kg/ha (30-50 units/acre) of nitrogen with sulphur. If conditions are suitable we will try to treat winter barley with growth regulator and any trace element required and wheat with the first half of a split pgr programme over the next two weeks.

What little idea of spring chemical prices we are able to get suggests manufacturers are not going to cut prices enough to compete against foreign imports. I strongly believe that they should move towards price parity and thereby allow our British distributors to be competitive. &#42

Well grown wheats are presenting challenges for Justin Blackwood. PGR and trace element sprays are due any day. But planning further ahead is proving tricky given the rarity of new fungicide prices.

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