William Hamilton

27 February 1998

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.

SPRINGTIME must have arrived at Rosery Farm; we have top dressed the oilseed rape with sulphate of ammonia.

Like all our nitrogen, this was applied as a liquid. As it is only 8% N by weight, 600 litres/ha was required, but we actually applied 604 litres/ha.

Such precision is difficult to achieve using solid materials. It was the introduction of prilled ammonium nitrates in the 1960s that caused us to change to liquid nitrogen. None of the spreaders then was accurate enough to satisfy us. Even now, though some modern pneumatic machines approach these levels of efficiency, they cant exceed them.

Scorch is a drawback of liquids compared with solids, but new leaves soon grow to replace the scalded ones.

When Angus has been prevented from de-stoninq, and Cyril has been working at base, they have been overhauling some of our machinery. One job was to remove the straw chopper clutch, which failed at the end of harvest from our TX34 combine. Our local New Holland dealer, Bloomfields of Debenham, rebuilt this assembly using parts held in stock.

They tell me several clutches malfunctioned last year, due to tough straw. I suspect that also caused the drive shaft at the rear of the combine header to shear off one evening during harvest.

As farmers we need the Bloomfields of this world, just as they need our business. We depend on one another.

Our prize crop of Abbot wheat has been sprayed with Lexus Class (flupyrsulfuron-methyl + carfentrazone) to remove most of the broad-leaved weeds and the few remaining blackgrass plants that survived the autumn onslaught of Avadex (tri-allate) granules.

Only 60g/ha was applied. If my arithmetic is correct, that is less than 1oz/acre – whatever next? &#42

William Hamilton puts his trust in liquid fertiliser, even if it does mean a bit of scorch. The oilseed rape has had its spring-time sulphate of ammonia.

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