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
I HAVE just sent in my entry for the local "deepest tramline of the year" competition.
Aprils 100mm of rain and pushing on with spraying and top-dressing is going to make a rough ride for the combine driver this year.
With high disease pressure in the wheats I thought it important to get the GS32 fungicide on regardless of soil conditions. Judging by the trails of mud on the roads I was not alone. At home the land carried the tractors well but on some undrained rented land it was necessary to resort to a four-wheel drive tractor on the sprayer and a good pressure wash afterwards.
Fungicide mixtures used were based on Epic (epoxiconazole) with the addition of either Amistar (azoxystrobin) or Bravo (chlorothalonil) and Sportak (prochloraz) or Unix (cyprodinil) where eyespot was present. Starane (fluroxypyr) was added to the mix in most cases, as we seem to have the strongest crop of cleavers I can ever remember.
Spraying was completed on Apr 24 and by May 8 we had started again with the flag leaf spray on the Soissons.
Potato planting recommenced on Apr 30 after a months delay. The earliest plantings are now emerging and have been sprayed with PDQ (diquat + paraquat) and linuron. The heavy land at home is having to be moved with the bed-tiller ahead of the destoner to dry it out and mix in the weeds. If we can get finished by the middle of the month I do not think we will have lost too much yield and, I hope, a smaller crop nationally wont do prices any harm.
We are using the FAR technique (Phenmedipham + Activator + Residual, a low-dose programme) for sugar beet herbicides this year and have made three applications to date. It seems to be working well, but unless the crop starts to grow a bit quicker we may need a few more applications.
The combine driver is in for a rough ride this summer, says Essex farmer Trevor Horsnell. Disease pressure on wheat at GS 32 justified making ruts, he believes.