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Talking arable with Iain Green: Temperatures warm up

Spring barley drilling finished here on May 5 into ideal seedbeds, although two weeks later than last year.

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After several weeks of a cold, drying east wind, not only have the cereals been left battered and bruised, even the grass has been damaged. The fields which had been grazed have been very slow to recover.


Thankfully the weather has been much warmer and grass and winter cereals are growing well now after a late start. I am almost scared to say it but it has been so hot, with temperatures up to 25degC and drying winds, we could do with some rain.


Several fields of early-drilled spring barley are not looking so good and have been sprayed for weeds and manganese deficiency.


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The winter barley has grown well despite the cold and because I was not happy with the autumn weed control, it has received a follow up herbicide of Nevada (florasulam + fluroxypyr) at 0.77 litres/hectare tank mixed with Groove at 1kg/ha (manganese), Canopy (mepiquat + prohexadione) at 0 .77 litres/ha(growth regulator) and Jaunt (fluoxastrobin + prothioconazole + trifloxystrobin) at 0.52 litres/ha (fungicide).


Last month I wrote about how I had managed to travel over the wheat fields with the lighter tractor and new fertiliser spreader applying a nitrogen sulphur product, but because the spreader was new I didn’t think there was any need to carry out a calibration tray test. How wrong could I have been?


The wheat looked great when the nitrogen first began to work, but as time went on I noticed the area in the middle of every tramline hadn’t received enough. Thankfully I wasn’t applying a large amount of nitrogen and the next pass with the liquid N has fixed the multi-colours but not before everyone else spotted my mistake too.

Tray tests

After several tray tests and changing of settings, the dealer finally had to change the discs which were fitted to machine. Our tramlines are 30 metres wide and the discs which came with the spreader were for 24-32m tramlines, which should have been fine although on their maximum limit.


The fertiliser was from a national company and looked perfect but as soon as we carried out a tray test with the new discs fitted the spread pattern was correct. The replacement discs were for 30-42m tramlines.


The winter wheat has continued to grow and has had also had Nevada at 0.61 litres/ha mixed, with Diflanil (DFF) at 0.16 litre/ha for weed control, tank mixed with Fielder (chlorothalonil + proquinazid) at 0.91 litres/ha (fungicide), Ennobe (epoxiconazole + prochloraz at 0.91 litres/ha (fungicide), Canopy at 0.45 litres/ha (PGR), Magnus Pro (magnesium), manganese Aloy at 0.91kg/ha and finally a wetter at 0.46 litres/ha.


See also: Late-drilled spring cereals may benefit from nutrient boost


All spring barleys have received their top dressing of nitrogen, with most fields receiving liquid 35S apart from 120ha.This area comprises two new parcels we have taken on to contract farm this spring, where there was no facility to store liquids.


They were both top dressed using the same nitrogen sulphur product which caused the strips in the wheat and unfortunately the first 60ha was done before I noticed my multi-coloured wheat.

The dry, warm sunny weather has given the lambs a tremendous start and they are growing well, although the ewe hoggs are too fit and have already decided to lie on their backs with their feet in the air awaiting assistance to right them.


In the meantime, our pedigree stockman has been busy preparing our showteam for this summer’s events, the first of which will be the Royal Highland Show.


Although this is a huge amount of work and expense, I am sure in the long-term it pays off as it is the only advertisement we do to promote our stock. I hope the weather is kind and we can enjoy our annual holiday.


Hopefully as most nitrogen was applied to the spring barley through the combine drill at sowing time it will not be too serious.



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