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Talking arable with Andrew Robinson: Getting on top of disease

Here at Toddington, March came in like a lion and went out like a snarling tiger, rather than a lamb. Strong winds and heavy rain deposited 35mm over the Easter weekend, bringing the total for the month to 70mm, some 30mm more than we would expect.

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Talking arable with Andrew Robinson: Getting on top of disease #arablefarming

Here at Toddington, March came in like a lion and went out like a snarling tiger, rather than a lamb. Strong winds and heavy rain deposited 35mm over the Easter weekend, bringing the total for the month to 70mm, some 30mm more than we would expect.

 

The cold weather and frequent showers means the ground simply refuses to dry up and consequently ruts are now being made in fields of both wheat and rape.

 

Mid-March saw the sprayer through the rape applying 200 litres/hectare of N35S fertiliser, with the final 200 litres/ha being applied, as I write, in the second week of April, to conclude the rape fertiliser programme for this year.

 

Before Easter we managed to sow the spring beans into good seedbeds, starting on March 20 and concluding on the evening of March 23. Seed rates varied between 266-368kg/ha for the Fury and 276-397kg/ha for the Vertigo.

 

After years of hiring a neighbour’s 10-metre set of Vaderstad NZ spring tines, we have bought our own 10m Dalbo Cultimax Spring Tine with a 3m transport width – I think we can use this machine more in autumn too. As they were unable to provide our 10m set in time for preparing the ground for the spring beans, Dalbo loaned us an 8m version which we used to good effect.

 

The sprayer followed the drill and applied 0.25 litres/ha of Remix (adjuvant) and 4 litres/ha of Nirvana (imazamox + pendimethalin). The near full rate of Nirvana, providing 67g/ha of Imazamox and 1,000g/ha of pendimethalin will hopefully control the ever-increasing charlock, as well as bindweed, fat hen and knotgrass. Whether it will prevent the use of some Basagran (bentazone) later on may be wishful thinking.

 

I have sold my first bit of new crop oilseed rape forward for £270 for October, which gives me some hope as that will be £300+ with bonus, which with a fair wind, will lead to a profit, albeit a small one. Wheat and rape have firmed a little in price due to currency and so a little more cover has been taken for November 17 at £120 plus premiums.

 


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Driest ground

T0s were completed over the first few days of April. Skyfall at Boughton, being on the driest ground, was the first to receive its T0 of one-litre/ha of Firefly (fluoxastrobin + prothioconazole) + Bravo (chlorothalonil).

 

See also: Barley T0 keeps crops in protectant situation

 

Gallant followed and due to its very heavy, wet clay location and history of eyespot was treated with one-litre/ha of Tracker (boscalid + epoxiconazole) and one-litre/ha of Bravo.

 

Previous experience has taught us leaving eyespot control until T1 has a big effect on both control and final yield. Moddus (trinexapac) and chlormequat were added too, as were the trace elements manganese and zinc after the first tissue tests came back and showed very low levels of zinc.

 

Barley has had a T0 with Kayak (cyprodinil) applied at 0.75 litres/ha again this season. Cyprodinil is an excellent fit here as its control of net blotch, rhynchosporium, eyespot and mildew is all for less than £9/ha. Moddus, chlormequat, manganese and zinc were also added to the tank and applied on April 1.

 

Our new man Matt’s first day saw him take to the Bateman and start to apply the second dose of 240 litres/ha of N35S fertiliser to the wheat, starting on Skyfall, at Boughton, and working his way back to Toddington to do Gallant, Skyfall and Crusoe.

 

Basic Payment Scheme maps have been printed off and are now being checked in readiness for our 2016 claim. I am still trying to get through to the Rural Payments Agency to try and sort out our 2015 claim; when I rang up last week I was 63rd in the queue with a 84-minute wait. My patience will definitely not stretch that far.

 

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