At MSP, our focus is on delivering high-quality, practical advice to our farming partners and part of how we understand the challenges that farmers face with each season and the changing marketplace is by running our own farm in Northumberland.
In the first of a regular video and blog series, we’re chronicling the goings-on at Our Farm, focusing on everything from the growth of the crops – including spring barley, winter barley, winter wheat, oil seed rape and cover crops – to the environmental challenges faced.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve managed to get all of our winter crops drilled into really good conditions and, for that, we’d like to say a big thanks to Richard Sprot and his contracting team.
They’ve gone in well into really good seed beds, while the soils have been warm as well, meaning the germination time has been really quick and the early growth has been very promising.
Our Farm comprises ten fields, which you can see the names of on the map above.
As far as our plan for this year goes, we’re experimenting with the use of cover crops ahead of our spring barley, to keep the goodness in the ground, increase the organic matter and take up a bit of the residual nitrogen, so we’ve got two different options that we’re trialling this season.
So, our field plan looks like this:
Far Moor: Cover Crop / Spring Barley (LG Diablo)
Suer Bags: Cover Crop / Spring Barley (LG Diablo)
Far Lea: Spring Barley (LG Diablo)
Near Lea: Winter Barley (Pearl)
Near Moor: Winter Barley (Pearl)
Far Golden Hill: Oil Seed Rape (DK Exstar)
Hemmel Field: Oil Seed Rape (DK Exstar)
Far Elilaw: Winter Wheat (KWS Lili)
Shanks: Winter Wheat (KWS Lili)
More generally, it’s been a pretty good few weeks in terms of establishment with plenty of moisture in the seed beds and good seed conditions, meaning that the slug pressure has been really low.
However, talking of insects, there has been some aphid pressure to be aware of with the reasonably warm temperatures we’ve experienced, although it is starting to get cooler now. So, my advice would be to keep an eye on the number of day degrees between your pyrethroid applications.
Again, with plenty of moisture in the soil, it’s also the perfect time for your autumn weed control, so we should get really good activity with on any weeds that come through.
Looking for some expert advice to tackle your farming challenges? Get in touch with us today to discuss how our dedicated team can help.