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Steve Heard: Reminiscing on earlier machinery usage, and anticipating chemical outcomes


I enjoy the quiet time of an early spring morning with the bright low sunshine in my eyes, but if only I didn’t have to view it from the sprayer cab each day.

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There is, of course, little to complain about as I sit cocooned in my super comfy Agrifac mobile office, trying to write something interesting for a farming journal as the array of computers take full control.


Without sounding even older than my years, my first spraying role was driving a Ford 7000 without doors or a back window. Back then, 350 hectares (860 acres) was probably a week’s work rather than a day’s output.


The OSR has already received its second flowering spray against sclerotinia as petal fall begins and my shiny red sprayer has been coated a sticky yellow colour. If things continue at this pace, an early harvest looks inevitable.


T1 sprays were applied to the wheats at least a week earlier than normal and have received a very sturdy growth regulator programme.


If you are reading this while drinking Sunday afternoon tea, then weather permitting, we shall be busy applying the T2 chemistry. Gallant milling wheat is already waving its flag leaf and timing of this critical fungicide now takes priority.


It is now very apparent the Atlantis chemical application has been seemingly useless against black-grass, but at least we don’t have any wild oats or broadleaved weeds to overspray.


To be honest, I am also disappointed I cannot see any effect from the patch applications of Avadex granules. I guess because we are now set up for their relatively cheap application and having paid for three PA4G safe use tests, we shall continue again this season and hope for better results next year.


Having escaped to the sunshine for a week to recharge the batteries and enjoy a fantastic family holiday, I must thank my brother for the use of his amazing luxury holiday home on the Isla Mujeres (near Cancun). Needless to say, he does not work in agriculture.


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