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Farmer Focus: A cautious approach to herbicide applications

26 November 2020

I love concrete, especially when it is skilfully power floated into a grain store.

I like it to be smooth enough that I can sweep wheat effortlessly with a 3ft-wide broom, with little friction between bristles and grain.

Our contractor, Paul Willis, and his team have worked their magic on our newest building, and to me, the glass-like floor is a thing of beauty. Perhaps I have been in lockdown too long?

Meanwhile, on the land, emerged wheats are a mixed bag. Some are very patchy due to the unrelenting rain in the weeks after drilling, which has caused wheat to rot in the ground and, of course, created the perfect conditions for slugs.

Not too eager

We are being careful not to compound things by being too eager with herbicide applications. The wheats are a bit tender, and since blackgrass is not too pressing a concern, it seems best to be cautious with the flufenacet, diflufenican and prosulfocarb mix. The last thing we need is herbicide damage.

Video calls for work and leisure continue. Interestingly, we had more attendees at our recent online Essex NFU county meeting than when we meet in the pub.

It was arguably well attended because president Minette Batters joined us and shared insight in to some recent successful lobbying and demonstrated her good knowledge of the pressing issues in Essex, namely: seasonal labour shortages, rural crime and coastal defences.

Rams in with ewes

The rams are in with the Exlana ewes, moving through some electric-fenced cover crops of mustard, oil radish, barley, beans and vetch.

The flock is about a quarter of a mile from the yard with a footpath running round the entire field.

Despite numerous warning signs about the electric fence, there are still dog walkers letting their pets go and investigate the fence.

I hear the yelps of the dogs from the yard, and while I sympathise with the poor hounds, it is a useful audible way of knowing the fence is still alive and kicking.

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