William Hamilton

7 November 1997

William Hamilton

William Hamilton is tenant

on the 205ha (506-acre)

Rosery Farm, Little

Stonham, Stowmarket,

Suffolk. Main crops are

winter wheat and oilseed

rape but he also grows

winter beans and

vining peas.

WHAT have we have we been up to recently slap bang in the centre of Suffolk?

All the winter wheat is safely sown into good seed-beds. Some were on the dry side, but with recent rains everything has emerged except the Chablis, a spring variety, sown on Oct 20.

Other wheats this autumn are Abbot, Charger, Equinox and Savannah which will be our first experience with the last variety.

Nickersons have also supplied us with some Claire (WW10) to evaluate. It is aimed at the distilling and biscuit making markets.

The intention is to produce seed from the Abbot, Chablis, Equinox and half the Charger. But as other seed growers know, there can be many a slip between cup and lip! The remainder of the Charger is grown as an entry for oilseed rape. Both last year and this it was our first wheat to harvest and so let us plough the stubble in good time.

Charger fills the bill both as an early ripening variety and as a second straw crop. Soissons is even earlier to combine, but in my opinion is not really suitable as a second wheat.

All the fields for wheat this autumn were ploughed using a Dowdeswell and furrow pressed. Some were also furrow cracked. Where the wheat stubbles were too loose for the cracker to work properly, the next operation was rib-rolling before or after a pass with our Galucho Tilthmaster.

Some of the land required a second treatment with the Tilthmaster which produced a very level and firm seed-bed. This is the second year we have used this machine, but I have not yet puzzled out how such a simple piece of kit achieves such excellent results.

Our old power harrow has only been used to work down a few headlands this year. In a wet season we would have to return to using it and put up with the added expense.

All our wheat was sown with a MF 510 seed drill which we purchased secondhand last autumn. Recently I saw a similar machine sold for only £2,850 at a local dispersal sale. Somebody got a real bargain.

The Rosery Farm team…William Hamilton (centre), with (from left) Angus Hamilton, Nick Murdock, Cyril and Teddy Brown.

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