OSRoutlook is promising
OILSEED rape, drilled at the end of August, looks quite perky after the recent rain, even the 0.6ha (1.42 acres) of redrilling after slug grazing has germinated and will, hopefully, make up before winter sets in.
We have selectively applied mini-slug pellets to both fields in the problem areas and hope we are now over the worst.
A tank-mix of cypermethrin and propaquizafop (Falcon) has been sprayed to control cabbage stem flea beetle and volunteer cereals, broad-leaved weed control will be carried out at a later date.
The rest of the drilling has not proceeded at the pace we anticipated. We started well on Sept 16 completing 27.76ha (68.56 acres) in two days using the Fendt 395 tool carrier and power harrow/drill combination.
Seed-beds were excellent following peas and oilseed rape. They were both fine and moist having been prepared by using discs and rolls. Seed rates for the home-saved Abbot seed were 150 seeds/sq m and have since emerged and look plenty thick enough.
So far we have applied Avadex Granules to the headlands and sprayed the wheat with cypermethrin to guard against barley yellow dwarf virus.
Since then we have been busy preparing land for wheat, barley and linseed by a combination of methods, but by Oct 1 no more drilling had been carried out.
The fields programmed for wheat after oilseed rape have been disced and rolled and the land following linseed, ploughed, pressed, power-harrowed and rolled. The wheat stubbles ear-marked for winter barley have also been ploughed and a seed-bed prepared with the intention of spraying volunteers off with glyphosate before sowing.
Lack of progress
The reason for the lack of progress with the drill was because of the dry seed-beds which rapidly became too wet on Sept 30.
Cultivations in the last two weeks of last month merely succeeded in drying out seed-beds and we made the decision to roll them down and wait for rain.
The priority now will be to get the Maris Otter winter barley drilled followed by the Oliver winter linseed and, finally, 37.51ha (92.6 acres) of winter wheat.
We shall be sowing our usual wheat variety trials in 1ha plots. The choice of varieties this year includes Abbot and Malacca, both Class 1 wheats grown commercially on the farm, Churchill, the high yielding, hard and wheat from New Farm Crops that did so well for us last harvest, plus a handful of new hopefuls.
Savannah, the newly NIAB recommended hard endosperm wheat from Advanta Seeds, is the highest yielding variety on the list and therefore a candidate, as is Weston from Seed Innovations. We shall also look at Marshall bred by Zeneca Seeds and Claire from Nickerson Seeds, if we can secure any.
Elsoms Seeds have drawn a new French wheat to my attention, namely Isengrain bred by Desprez. This has Soissons in its make-up and is therefore both early maturing and has shown excellent grain quality in trials as well as yields comparable with Riband and Brigadier from 1998 harvest data.
Another variety to come from France is Cockpit, a hybrid wheat with 60,000ha (148,200 acres) grown in its country of origin and a bread-making quality as a bonus.
That will give us nine varieties to look at through the growing season and, although not replicated or scientifically monitored, will give us an indication of performance on our soils and under our management.
Winter OSR 18.57 45.8
Winter wheat 90.91 224.6
Winter barley 30.56 75.5
Winter linseed 13.77 34
Comb peas 18.29 45.2
Sugar beet 19.83 49
Per ryegrass 12.00 30
Grass ley 1.57 3.9
Set-aside 19.82 49
Perm pasture 11.95 29.5