William Hamilton

27 March 1998

William Hamilton

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

SO WHAT has been happening at Stanham recently? Co-operative ventures seem to dominate our activities.

The remainder of last years rape crop has been collected and delivered to Erith in Kent for crushing. This parcel of rapeseed is being marketed for us by our local co-operative, Framlingham Farmers, which has an excellent track record in this field.

As crop selling prices have come under pressure, it is interesting to note that the tonnage of all combinable crops marketed for members has shown a substantial increase. A sign of the times we live in.

Another co-operative we belong to, Gipping Valley Growers, has made a start sowing this years vining peas at David Roes farm in the parish of Shelland, just west of Stowmarket. The variety Avola was sown under almost ideal conditions by John Forrests Vaderstad Rapide drill, towed by his Caterpillar Challenger rubber-tracked crawler.

The job was completed in one pass thus avoiding many wheel marks. As other pea growers will know the crop cannot tolerate compaction. Hence the policy of our group to use the Rapide wherever possible.

Back at home, during a recent crop inspection with our independent adviser Edmund Brown from Framlingham, patches of shepherds needle and areas of volunteer rape were spotted. These have now been dealt with by an application of Eagle (amidosulfuron). Our autumn control of blackgrass appears to be almost total – only time will tell.

Apart from spraying, Angus has spent most of his time away from base destoning land in the Thetford area. All was well until one morning his tractor came to a halt with a complete loss of hydraulic power caused by a broken coupling on the drive to the hydraulic pumps.

Fortunately this tractor, a New Holland 8360, is on hire from K Ripper Tractors of Halstead, Essex. They replaced it next morning with a similar machine. The hire was arranged by the Essex and Suffolk Machinery Ring, a third co-operative of which we are active members. &#42

All pull together – that is William Hamiltons message after co-operative ventures saw vining peas sown, grain sold well and a failed machine replaced swiftly earlier this month.

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