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Rodney Down: Wheat planting begins, but questions raised over legality of sprayer with no brake pedal

I lost patience and started planting wheat this week.
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One end of the farm has only had 7mm of rain in September and the other end had 25mm. So at least we can start in what are perfect seedbeds, where as the home end is far too dry. Seed rates are below 100kg/hectare (160 seeds/ sq.m) and everything has been earmarked for pre-emergence spray. Life will be a little easier on the spraying front with the addition of an ageing, but extremely expensive, self-propelled sprayer.


By the end of my first day out I was pleased with the investment, but just keep wondering how it is legal not to have a brake pedal?


At one point the driver of a small sports car I was about to mount with the sprayer, like a bull serving a heifer, must have thought I was having a fit as I sat there stamping the floor in anticipation of a brake pedal being there. She now knows what the chassis of a Bateman sprayer looks like and also not to use the road through our farm as a short cut.

Maize samples

Reducing the short cutters at this time of year is useful as we have started maize harvest. The grain maize grown as an experiment for forage for the second year was excellent, and the first to be cut. I have taken samples to compare it to forage maize before I convert the whole area.


I let go of driving the forager this year and what a relief.


Instead I am back where I started at about 15 years old, pushing up in the clamp. Although I am also expected to calf heifers, feed calves and move cattle at the same time.


We are two months into calving and are just beginning to look at serving. Cows are performing about average. I could do with the extra milk to offset the reduced price, but as an industry should we be producing less or be more competitive and undercut? I guess the same theory goes for beef and arable as well?

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