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
AFTER all the rain of early January I was anxious – probably too anxious – to make use of the much improved ground conditions.
During the second week of February the Lipton oilseed rape received 75kg/ha (60 units/acre) of nitrogen and one field of Regina winter barley, which had been suffering from slug damage, received 50kg/ha (40 units/acre). This field has already improved, with only a few small bald patches now showing.
At the end of the month it was still dry and ground conditions were perfect, so I decided to complete the early application of nitrogen, although it was a little earlier than I had been advised.
The winter barley, all Regina, was given 110kg/ha (88 units/acre), which is all it will get. I do wonder if I am right to sacrifice yield for malting quality in the present market.
The winter wheat received either 40 or 50kg/ha (32 or 40 units/acre) depending on previous cropping. After giving the grassland its initial dose of fertiliser we swapped the fertiliser spreader for the sprayer on the Agribuggy. But the last few days have brought wind, rain and frost, so no spraying had been done by the end of last week.
The mild winter has left the winter oats, sown at the end of September, very forward. They are in dire need of Corbel (fenpropimorph) at 0.5 litres/ha to control mildew.
A few weeks ago our agronomist arranged a talk on Assured Combinable Crops. While I was relieved to hear it demands little more than current good practice, it is going to cost me an hour or so each week in time and it will require me to spend a certain amount of money on bird proofing, etc. This comes at a time when we have never been under so much pressure.
When I am disadvantaged by not being a member I will join. *
View of the month… Getting early nitrogen on to rape and slug-hit winter barley in early February, and the main dressing on to the rest of the barley at the end of the month, has been the priority for Simon Wadlow.