I hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas and a good start to the new year. I took the time to tidy up around the farm and indulge in a mince pie or too. First week back to it and we were joined by our Agronomists for a post-Christmas health check, for the crops that is!
The rape has bounced back nicely from its recent covering of snow and the full extent of weed control can now be seen. Fields with particular grass weed cases were treated with Centurion Max prior to using Kerb and Prosaro in November. This looks to have achieved a 90% kill rate which I’m pleased with, given that some areas were quite dense. Our Agronomists David and Oliver suggested an application of Crawler before February may be useful to mop up the remaining grass weeds, if needed.
The rest of the Rape fields received a Crawler and Metcostar mix during October followed by Kerb Flo and Prosaro in November. This mix has served the remaining fields well and has kept on top of the weeds. I didn’t manage to treat the Rape with Fox before Christmas to knock out the Charlock, however on closer inspection, the severe frosts have done the trick, and the charlock is looking well knocked. A Win-Win in my book.
Interestingly, fields that were treated with the Metcostar mix are noticeably more prostrate compared to their non-treated counterparts. The Metcostar fungicide can also give a reduction in crop height which has been apparent in the Rape.
Precision Wheat drilled at 18kg/ha is in row, albeit it being fairly sparse which was expected. The experiment has been a great test for the new Mzuri Xzact precision seeder and proved the concept really well. To boost tillering, David suggests an application of Nitrogen and Sulphur, when weather allows. This will give the crop the kickstart it needs, and will make for a very striking experimental wheat crop.
It will be interesting to see the difference, if any, between the standard Graham variety and the Hybrid Hyclick, which didn’t receive any fertiliser at drilling on the advice of the seed company. David thinks band placement fertiliser would have been the best option, but time will tell as the plants continue to develop.
Standard drilled wheat is looking well across the farm and will receive its first dressing as and when the weather allows, with an application of Nitrogen and Sulphur at around 140kg/ha.
After the heavy frosts and snowfall over Christmas, the Radish is almost completely decimated. It’s served me well and faithfully covered the ground over the Winter. Now I’ve got to get my skates on in preparation for finalising our spring cropping.
This year’s spring drilling schedule is still being planned. I enjoyed growing Soya last year but the difficulty in selling it means I am cautious to plant it again. Alternatively, I didn’t enjoy harvesting Linseed but it is more easily sellable for us, which is particularly important when we’re short on space. I like the idea of trying something new again, maybe Lupins or another alternative break crop. Further discussions with our agronomists are needed to see which solution David will recommend that will tick all of the boxes in terms of trying something new and pushing the boundaries. Watch this space on the spring cropping front.
Over the festive period I took the time to tidy up around the farm, particularly the driveway. I re-laid the driveway on Boxing day, (any excuse for a play on my digger), which also kept me out of Mrs Lole’s hair for a few hours. The driveway hedge also got a spruce up thanks to the Razorback; it has produced a very clean cut and an exceptional finish which I am very pleased with.