It’s been a couple of months since the last visit down to West Burton – our company farm just outside the village of Bamburgh in Northumberland – and it’s safe to say a lot has changed since then.
With us being at the end of July, harvest is very much upon us, and the winter barley has been sprayed off, so it won’t be long before the combine is in the field cutting that.
The oil seed rape and wheat aren’t quite there yet, with the wheat still green and hopefully filling quite nicely in the sunshine that we’ve had over the past couple weeks. Fingers crossed, that will be reflected in the yield.
Being at the end of the growing season, it’s quite evident to see that there’s been high disease pressure – particularly Septoria in the wheat.
Drilling dates played a big part in this. We drilled this in the second week of September, so the risk was quite high, and even though we had a cold, dry start to the spring, it’s clear to see there’s been high Septoria pressure.
So, in hindsight, we’re happy that we used a robust T1 fungicide, followed by a very robust T2, so the disease control has been good in the wheat.
In terms of spring barley, we’re seeing a little bit of ramularia. With the loss of chlorothalonyll, we are struggling for disease control for ramularia, so we’re just going to have to watch this space.
On the whole, things at the company farm look okay, but elsewhere in the countryside we have been seeing quite a lot of ramularia in spring barley.
We’re starting to plan for next season and have attended a number of variety trials to look at wheat varieties.
With the increased pressure from Septoria, we’re starting to think that perhaps using varieties with greater resistance to disease rather than relying on fungicide will be better for us, as we like to drill early, which increases that disease pressure.
We also need to think about cultivation strategy and grass weed control moving forward and stubble management, so we can help to control the weed burden that we have here.
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