Teddy Maufe

1 May 1998




Teddy Maufe

Teddy Maufe farms 407ha

(1000 acres) at Branthill

Farm, Wells-next-the-Sea,

Norfolk. Sugar beet lies at

the heart of the rotation,

with other crops including

winter barley, wheat and

oats, spring barley and

triticale

OVER 90mm (3.5in) of rain in the first three weeks of April has severely disrupted field work. We are trying to get the final top dressing on wheat, oats, and triticale, as well as sugar beet when ground conditions allow. In the few dry interludes we are applying the main fungicide of Lyric (flusilazole) and Opus Plus (epoxiconazole + tridemorph), with some copper to barley. On Riband wheat we will be using a mix of Alto and Bravo (cyproconazole and chlorothalonil).

Thank goodness we applied a Takron (chloridazon) pre-emergence band spray on drilling the sugar beet. Now we need to get back with a first post-emergence spray. The beet seedlings look very sorry for themselves having had to endure three weeks of cool temperatures, hail and rain since emergence. They desperately need a more settled warm period.

Triticale, having been sold to us on a cheap-to-grow, very resistant to all diseases ticket, has totally broken down to yellow rust. Typical!

We have been busy in this extended wet period trying to get the grain barn up to ACCS standard. This has involved putting shatterproof plastic coverings on the inside of glass windows in the grain store, but the light protectors we ordered some time ago have still to arrive. Blocking up any potential vermin entries, with such a large set of old buildings, is a never-ending challenge. As the farm is on a full repair lease, we are responsible for all the barn modifications and maintenance.

I have just done my cash flow for the year ahead and the only way I can get the farm to show any profit is for all the crops to achieve their best ever yields – not a very likely scenario. The cost of every single input is tracked and we seek to lower them wherever we can. But basically the price of crops has just fallen too far to make up the difference.

Thank goodness for the pre-em herbicide, says sugar beet grower Teddy Maufe. Seedlings desperately need a warm settled period on his Norfolk farm.


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