Teddy Maufe farms 407ha
(1000 acres) at Branthill
Norfolk. Sugar beet lies at
the heart of the rotation,
with other crops including
winter barley, wheat and
oats, spring barley and
WE STARTED drilling our 107ha (265 acres) of sugar beet on Mar 16 and had a clear run through to finishing late on Mar 20.
I resisted starting earlier because we usually get a wintry cold snap in late March and I much prefer not to have the vulnerable germinating and emerging stage protracted any longer than necessary.
We drill at 18cm (7in) spacing in 51cm (20in) rows, but drill the headlands at 15cm (6in) spacing to help compensate for wheelings and game damage.
To obtain a seed-bed on our late autumn ploughed land, we just do one pass with the Kongskilde Germinator. However, in the absence of frost tilth this year, I had to run a straight tined spring-tine ahead of the Germinator on the heavier land to obtain a good enough seed-bed. That accounted for about 15% of the total.
We band-spray Takron (chloridazon) on the drill to give more flexibility and save costs on our following two-spray post-em programme.
Docking Disorder has been found consistently in trials on this farm so we also apply Temik (aldicarb) at drilling. About a third of the sugar beet seed was Advantage treated to help it get away. We then apply 125kg/ha (1cwt/acre) of nitrogen onto the seedbed.
In early March, we applied 20.10.10 compound fertiliser at 375kg/ha (3cwt/acre) to our Optic spring barley – so we only apply 75kgN/ha (60 unitsN/acre), since the preceding sugar beet crop had 12t/ha (5t/acre) of turkey muck.
In mid-March we gave the winter barley its main dressing, to supply a final total of 100kgN/ha (80 unitsN/acre) on the Halcyon and 125kgN/ha (100 unitsN/acre) on the Regina.
This week following the recommendation of our CropCare adviser, we have been applying a low rate growth regulator mix of Moddus (trinexapac-ethyl) and chlormequat to the Halcyon, plus manganese and some Torch (spiroxamine) fungicide to control brown rust. *
With no frost tilth to aid seed-bed preparation on heavier ground 15% of the beet area needed spring tining ahead of the Germinator this year, says Norfolk grower Teddy Maufe. Drilling finished in good time on Mar 20.