Peter Hogg

5 October 2001

Peter Hogg

Peter Hogg farms in

partnership with his brother

at Causey Park Farm, near

Morpeth, Northumberland.

Half the 450ha (1100-acre)

heavyland farm is in crops,

mainly winter wheat, barley

and oilseed rape, plus a few


A NEUTRON, which was split from an atom of anti-matter at the particle accelerator in Geneva has escaped from its electro-magnetically-sealed titanium flask and sunk to the centre of the Earth.

It has set up a chain reaction and will destroy the planet in seven hours and will then go on to devour the entire universe bringing about a state that existed in the cosmos before the "big bang"!

Now, what other pieces of fiction have I come across recently? Farmers claim that yields have fallen to 10t/ha; vaccination will cure foot-and-mouth disease; a certain Mr Haskins has all the answers to farmings problems. I think the first story is the most believable.

Cereal harvest is nearly finished, but a small area of very late sown spring barley looks as if it will not be ready to cut by the end of October. Meanwhile the potatoes have bulked up enormously and Homeguard is now giving 30t/ha (12t/acre). But it is becoming hard to sell them at anything over £100/t.

Autumn drilling of cereals is well under way with the first sown fields emerged. Oats, which we grow for the sheep, have been sprayed with Lexus Class (carfentrazone-ethyl + flupyrsulfuron-methyl), an approach which has been used in the past with good results.

For wheat and barley we have adopted a new policy. Due to the failure to control meadow grass in last years crops there will undoubtedly be a huge reservoir of weed seeds in the soil. Two half doses of herbicide, trifluralin pre-emergence and ipu post-emergence, weather permitting, will be used rather than risk waiting for all the crops to emerge before spraying. Diflufenican will be mixed with the ipu for increased broad-leaved weed control. That way, if the weather breaks, at least we have some weed control in place. Given that we have just had three days of rain, that insurance looks like it could be a sound investment. &#42

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