Trevor Horsnell, a former
Sugar Beet Grower of the
Year, part owns and rents
182ha (450 acres) at
Gorrells Farm, Highwood,
Chelmsford, Essex. Besides
beet, his cropping includes
potatoes and winter wheat,
barley and oilseed rape
IT IS with some reluctance that I have sent my application to join the Assured Combinable Crops Scheme.
In the context of current "food scares" I agree there are areas that need tightening up, in some situations.
But I feel it is a bit of an insult to my integrity as a farmer to have to pay out money to someone who has been on a two-day course just to be judged as to whether I am fit to farm.
I once saw a sign on the back of a toilet door which read "the job is not complete until you have done the paperwork". How true it seems in farming today. I have been busy designing all manner of new recording sheets to satisfy the ACCS and there is a distinctly bemused look on the faces of the farm staff each morning as I emerge from the office clutching yet more sheets for them to fill in.
As we are working through the Tesco "Natures Choice" audit we now have, in addition to our normal spraying records, an instruction sheet which I sign and give myself and then a confirmation sheet which I sign and return to myself after Ive completed the job.
About the only thing it seems that we dont record is the colour of the operators underpants.
Getting back to the field work, we are applying the balance of the nitrogen to the rape giving a total of 200kg/ha (178 units/acre) for the Arietta and 220kg/ha (196 units/acre) for the Pronto.
No nitrogen has yet been applied to the majority of the cereals. I think too much nitrogen too soon could pose serious lodging risks. We are again using Extran as it spreads so evenly through out Amazone spinner.
We have our own tray test equipment and once spent two full days unsuccessfully trying to get the spreader set correctly for imported ammonium nitrate which looked and spread like damp sugar.
Bad memories of imported ammonium nitrate mean Trevor Horsnell is now an Extran man. Enthusiasm for ACCS membership is less clear-cut.