Patrick Godwin

12 April 2002

Patrick Godwin

Patrick Godwin is farm

manager for the 930ha

(2300 acre) Lee Farm

Partnership, Angmering

Estate, West Sussex. Soils

are chalk-based with

combinable winter and

spring crops occupying

525ha (1300 acres)

SPRING is always a busy time for us at Lee Farm and shepherd Mike Martin and his team of assistants have been busy lambing 1400 ewes. With only a few left to go, it is time to concentrate on some field operations.

The ground has suddenly dried up and the last of the 30ha (74 acres) of year two "in-conversion" Paragon went into a good seed-bed following forage rye. We have planted 12ha (30 acres) of Espace peas, which have been rolled and sprayed with Bullet (cyanazine + pendimethalin) pre-emergence herbicide. That leaves just 45ha (111 acres) of spring oilseed rape to finish our spring drilling program.

The winter wheats are fast approaching growth stage 31 and are ready for fungicide and growth regulator. Strobilurin backed up by older chemistry for specific targets is the strategy. Claire wheat, for example, will receive 0.4 litres/ha of Acanto (picoxystrobin) plus 0.4 litres/ha of Flamenco (fluquinconazole) and 0.1 litre/ha of Fortress (quinoxyfen).

Courage winter oilseed rape has had its quota of 210kg/ha of nitrogen and 80kg/ha of sulphur. It seems a very indeterminate variety and does not look attractive to the eye, but looks are not everything and it is clean so we will postpone judgement until harvest. Having applied 0.75 litres/ha of Folicur (tebuconazole) and trace elements the sprayer will not be back until mid-flowering.

Farming as part of a large estate, we have to integrate with other departments. The shoot and the farm work closely together and as part of that effort we have formulated a plan to improve the bio-diversity of Angmering Park.

With sound farming methods and environmentally friendly practices we hope to encourage grey partridge and other bird and insect species back into our field margins. Looking at forward prices for cereals it is difficult to attempt such schemes with such huge pressures on budgets and margins.

However, work done by the Game Conservancy suggests that much can be achieved by small changes to old habits. Lets hope this is the case. &#42

Integrating farming with the wider objectives of the estate is difficult when arable margins are under such pressure, says Patrick Godwin in Sussex.

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