May has been the month for spraying the T1 and T2’s, welcoming visitors and drilling the Soya. Recorded as the hottest May since records began, we’ve certainly enjoyed the extra sunshine and it turned out to be the perfect month to hold our open days and farm visits.
With the weather being typically untypical I applied the T1 on the 4th May, additionally we included a herbicide and a PGR. The naturally wider rows of the Pro-Til drilled crop still allow for good chemical contact with any remaining weeds in the later stages of the crop. I am convinced that a big factor in our chemistry becoming less effective is its inability to reach where it needs to be particularly the case for contact herbicides.
Running out of time to apply the last dose of Nitrogen and with no significant rain forecast I was in two minds about applying. I decided that it just couldn’t go without and went in with the spinner on the 22nd, applying 250kg/ha of 33.5% N. We were then graced with damp weather a day later which took the pressure off and will have helped wash in the nutrients.
Finishing the Wheat’s month off the T2 fungicide of Bugle, Opus Team, Spirodor and Manganese was applied on the 30th. The challenging weather definitely put pressure on our spraying schedule, but I think we have done well. We are fortunate that across the farm our main variety is Costello, which is known for its high disease resistance. The varieties robust agronomic traits have definitely proved their worth this season.
Given the Spring we had I wouldn’t have wanted to have drilled a Spring crop any sooner than we did on the 9th. Soya needs to be drilled into a warm seedbed and the wet conditions certainly put this off until later in the Spring. We drilled at a seed rate of 140kg/ha with 100kg/ha of the fertiliser 0.24.24 placed below the seed to give the crop the best start.
The Mzuri Pro-Til is perfect for this, creating the ideal levels of tilth to mineralise enough nutrients to kick start germination and promote even establishment. 12 hours after drilling we went over with the Twose Rolls to further consolidate the ground and protect against any possible slug damage.
We generally had very good establishment across the width of the fields however it became clear that I wasn’t the only one pleased with the new crop. Pigeons and Hares have been our biggest enemy this month and we’ve been battling to keep up with them since the crop first started to chit. Whole sections of emerged crop have been nibbled which will no doubt impact the yield of the crop come harvest. We have perhaps been somewhat too sympathetic with the crow bangers, with the fields being so close to the village and neighbouring livestock, but this season has highlighted to us the importance of early pest control.
May has been a very busy month for farm tours and has kept everyone on their toes! We welcomed over 100 farmers as part of Mzuri’s Spring open days this year and have had some wonderful feedback about the day and the farm. Later in the month we had the pleasure of hosting students from Worcester University from the Environmental Science department. As part of their studies the students look at varying soil types and visit local farms. It was interesting to listen to Phil talk about soils in such a passionate way and we certainly learnt a thing or two!