Tim Piper

14 September 2001

Tim Piper

Tim Piper farms at

Churchlands on the edge

of Romney Marsh, Kent.

Wheat, barley, oilseed rape,

herbage seed and vining

peas occupy 890ha

(2200 acres) of the

1105ha (2730 acre) unit

BOUTS of wet weather since the start of September made finishing harvest a protracted affair. However, it is all done now bar maize silage which wont be long.

Straw has been baled and cleared. Hopefully we will have enough to see us through the winter provided we get an open autumn and the cattle can stay out to the end of October.

Oilseed rape, or rather canola, has been drilled into ideal seed-beds and what has emerged so far is untroubled by slugs. As usual, we have sprayed with pre-emergence Butisan (metazachlor) at 0.75 litres/ha plus 2.3 litres/ha of trifluralin.

With last years wet weather scenario still crystal clear in my memory, we have also made tentative start drilling wheat.

Seed-beds are good, but due to reduced germination in the over-yeared seed we are using quite a high rate for the time of year. Pre-emergence linuron plus trifluralin would normally follow but because they are both a bit hot that mix will not be used. I do not want to put seed of already suspect vigour under any more pressure.

As a precaution 5kg/ha of mini-pellets have been applied to areas which have a history of slug problems. Another 5kg/ha will follow after rolling which should do the job.

Our main wheats this autumn will be tried and tested varieties Claire, Consort and Marshall. Small amounts of Tanker, Deben and Hyno Esta will be grown on a look-see basis, the latter two as second wheats. If they perform we could start to put more second wheat into the rotation.

That said, one pleasant surprise from this harvest was the performance of spring wheat. Chablis sown in early February did well, early March sowings were not so good, but late March/early April drilled crops were exceptional. Quality looks good, too.

Winter barleys going in this autumn are Siberia and Pearl. Hopefully, by the time my next article hits your doormat those and the wheat will all be drilled. &#42

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