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Talking Arable with Daniel Seed: In the middle of seasons

We still haven’t had a winter and lambs have started dropping which is a sure sign it will snow
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Spring has sprung in Berwickshire, or autumn hasn’t really finished. Either way, farmers in the area have been tentatively putting on fertilisers over the past few weeks and some have been sowing on lighter land.


Crops in the area still look well, although there are some signs of stress in winter barley on wet land and some second wheat needing nitrogen earlier.


At home, all crops except 300 hectares of our most forward wheat, had received nitrogen by the second week in March. Prothioconazole has been applied to the most forward oilseed rape to keep it under control and to top up light leaf spot control. A small area was at green bud stage by March 7 and romping through stem extension, which is a bit worrying considering we still haven’t had a winter and lambs have started dropping, which is a sure sign it will snow.

Autumn fungicide

There were one or two farmers not applying an autumn fungicide to oilseed rape after advisers had told them the lush green growth would be gone in the winter with frosts and that it wasn’t worth protecting as new growth in the spring would be clean - glad we didn’t do that!


Disease pressure means a robust and flexible T0 spray will be applied; epoxiconazole , chlorothalonil and cyflufenamid to keep on top of septoria, rusts and mildew. Varieties like Viscount and Claire look okay just now but are very thick and susceptible to rusts found nearby in sheltered fields.


Pearl winter barley looks fantastic, no stress, loads of tillers and will need some prothioconazole for net blotch, mildew and rhynchosporium soon. So the treadmill of watching money get sprinkled fortnightly onto winter barley begins, I hope it yields, but I am well prepared to be disappointed.

Grain markets

Grain markets look good after the trouble in Ukraine, and even if there is no conflict over Crimea the obvious tension between the US and Russia must mean more uncertainties and a better price going forward.


Mr Seed Snr has been in South America for a month finding himself, so cue four weeks of problems with hysterical horse riders, hospitalised farm staff and of course Scottish Power. I have had to take down my prized pigeon screamer, which cost a fortune, because a walker thought someone was being murdered in the woods and threatened to phone the police.


I went to a business resilience workshop recently, which was actually very good and we all took turns listing risks to our business, but ‘general public’ would have summed them all up. A man on a digger keeps making a mess in a field to connect electricity from a transformer and worst of all, I am now the only worker fit to pick stones after some knee operations went wrong.


I have always hated Twitter with a passion, but now I have a way of showing the world stones I have singlehandedly manoeuvred into my bucket, social networking is all beginning to make sense. Feats of superhuman strength would have previously gone unnoticed but not now thanks to Mr Twitter and his invention.


  • Daniel Seed farms in a family farming partnership in the Scottish Borders. His cropping programme includes novel ‘technology crops’, vining peas and swedes.
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