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. Fo
first two weeks of the month we did not start until Mar 16.
The oats eventually received 0.5 litres/ha of Mistral (fenpropimorph) to control a heavy attack of mildew. Ally (metsulfuron-methyl) and Eagle (amidosulfuron) were added at 15 and 30g/ha, respectively, for broad-leaved weeds.
Due to the extremely wet autumn we left several fields unsprayed until the spring. But by adding the appropriate product to control a variety of broad-leaved weeds or volunteer beans we probably saved a pass with the sprayer when these fields were finally treated.
Ever since I started to grow winter beans 1 litre/ha of simazine applied after sowing has been all the weed control needed. But this year one field came through the winter with such a high population of cleavers that 2 litres/ha of Basagran (bentazone) had to be applied.
The oilseed rape has had 0.5 litres/ha of Folicur (tebuconazole) to control light leaf spot and help prevent lodging. This crop is on the heaviest part of the farm, and to my inexperienced eye generally looked quite well. But too much of the headlands had small and stunted plants, caused by water-logging. Next year I must avoid compacting the headlands when preparing the seed-bed.
Having only one full-time man on the farm where I usually have two, I felt fully justified when last week I got a friend to help with the spraying. All the wheat and barley has now had chlormequat and weed control is up to date.
With so much sugar beet already sown, I hardly dare admit that we still had not started at the end of March. Our winter-ploughed heavier land has been slow to dry and, although tempted, I have so far been patient. *
Simon Wadlows early nitrogen dressings have been timely this season, but wet weather more recently has interfered with spraying programmes.