Simon Wadlow

16 January 1998

Simon Wadlow

Simon Wadlow farms 200ha

(500 acres) at The Croft,

near Bridgnorth, Shropshire.

Key crops are winter wheat

and sugar beet, plus winter

oats, barley, oilseed rape

and beans. Forage maize,

set-aside and pasture make

up the balance

NO sooner had I written lasts months diary than the weather improved and spraying was completed in conditions that were quite passable, if not ideal.

The oilseed rape received Falcon (propaquizafop) at 0.5 litres/ha to remove a small amount of volunteer barley. I use an independent agronomist for advice on all my arable inputs, and in the case of the oilseed rape I will depend on him entirely, as this is my first attempt at growing it.

At the moment it looks reasonably well, but the pigeons have not started on it yet and I do not know how it will stand up to the severe waterlogging it is suffering at the moment.

As soon as the sugar beet tops had wilted for a week we put our remaining store lambs on to what had been our last field. Despite the extremely wet conditions the lambs have done quite well and I hope we will be able to make a draw of fat lambs next week. They will have to be taken off the tops by Jan 15, as the field is destined for set-aside next year.

Just before Christmas our haulier moved 300t of beet. This took us over quota by more than 20%, which is probably prudent. But with 200t still to be delivered I am going to be 40% over quota; ridiculous at £10 to £12/t net for C beet. I must cut my beet acreage back for next year.

Unlike last year there appears to be some demand for straw and we have managed to sell about 100t in the past few weeks, some of it through our local machinery ring.

I normally like to make use of the quiet winter months loading grain, but at the moment I have none sold and I am feeling indecisive about what I should do at current prices.

Simon Wadlow has been reluctant to sell grain at current low prices. While cereals stay in the barn, beet deliveries continue apace. Final tonnage will be well over quota, prompting a reduction in beet area next season.

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