Don’t miss this month’s new look Arable Farming. Take a look at the digital edition today.
A drive up to the west of Scotland for my summer holidays provided an opportunity to escape the arid eastern counties and have a look over a few hedges along the way. Chief observations were that 1) harvest was anything up to two weeks early and 2) there is a fair bit of lodging about; unusually oilseed rape appears to have gone down and stayed down – whether that is the result of storm damage or something else is hard to say.
It has been a busy few weeks since I penned my last editorial. Harvest is upon us; as I write combines are on-the-move again after a few days of wet weather halted progress. I would say a good chunk of the winter barley has been cut locally and there is talk some of the wheat is not far off. Given it is still only the second week of July there is understandably some apprehension over yield outcomes, tempered to some extent by wheat futures breaking the £150/tonne mark.
After 12 months of almost nothing happening, Brexit appears to have gone a bit bananas in recent days. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has told the EU to ‘go whistle’ over the UK’s Brexit divorce bill, a comment mocked by EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier with talk of the ‘ticking clock’. Is this really the language of serious negotiation?
Almost inevitably there has been yet more worrying news on crop protection, with early July seeing the approval by a majority of experts from the EU’s 28 member states of the European Commission’s proposed definition on endocrine disruptors. This puts 61 active substances at risk of loss to growers, prime among them triazole fungicides. The UK voted against the proposal.
While it appears to have been a reasonably ‘good’ year in black-grass management terms, it would be folly to allow any complacency to creep in. Should you be looking to refine plans, don’t miss our grass-weed feature in this issue, which includes news of black-grass guru Dr Stephen Moss’ ‘5 for 5’ approach to control, as well as plans to test the Australian ‘Chaff Deck’ in the UK this harvest. We have also been out on-farm, taking a look at how straw rakes are being used in practice.
But it is still only July and there is a lot of combining to be done. We wish you a good – and safe – harvest.