Stephen Bumstead farms
148ha (365 acre) from Ouse
Bank Farm, Great Barford,
Beds. He is a first
generation farmer and
council tenant, growing
combinable crops on three
blocks of land. He supports
LEAF and is the FWAG
WHY have I had to wear jumpers and coats in July? So much for global warming!
In view of the weather in the first half of the month I am mighty glad I used a T3 fungicide of Folicur (tebuconazole) and Amistar (azoxystrobin) on all the wheat. The ears are still very clean and so far all crops are standing well, which could be due to later nitrogen timings. Did I do right in that? No doubt all will be revealed at harvest.
Black bean aphid moved in with a vengeance on the Scirocco beans recently, requiring an emergency treatment of Aphox (pirimicarb) which we tank mixed with 1 litre/ha of Folio (metalaxyl + chlorothalonil) for downy mildew and chocolate spot. Hopefully, we can rely on our friendly, hungry ladybirds to clear up any more incomers.
All our cereals are in desperate need of sunshine to aid grain fill and boost my confidence. Even the winter barley will not be ready before the last week of July. Late flushes of spring wild oats are causing a headache. As we are beyond conventional herbicide timings I will have to wait until I can get in with some pre-harvest glyphosate. Hopefully, that will kill the oats before seeds set and spoil the sample.
My rant on grain contracts last month provoked comments from several growers who also feel hard done by. In view of this I will continue trading the bulk of my crop through a co-op and recommend any of those who are dissatisfied with the merchant trade to at least give their local co-op a try. At the Royal Show, the chairman of the NFU cereals committee, Richard Butler, assured me the NFU is pressing for a fairer trading contract and is producing a trading check-list to guide members.
As for ACCS, I have jumped through the hoops and am fully behind the scheme, a model member. Why? Because my customers asked me to join, which is fair enough. Now, lets sell the concept to the eating public.
Why have I still got my coat and jersey on…in July, asks Steven Bumstead? Even winter barley will not be ready before the last week of the month on his Beds farm.