Farmer Focus: Smooth spring drilling and nitrogen cutbacks

Like most of our neighbours, our spring drilling has gone easily.

The sheep did a very good job of mob-grazing our cowl crops, though we didn’t fairly have sufficient to keep away from the turnips and forage rape beginning to bolt. Something to enhance on for subsequent 12 months.

Soils quickly turned from moist to concrete, which is at all times a problem.

See additionally: How a Yorkshire farmers’ trial improved N fertiliser effectivity

About the writer

Richard Harris

Richard Harris manages his household farm in partnership together with his father in south Devon. Growing wheat, barley, linseed, grass and cowl crops, with a small pick-your-own pumpkin patch.


This spring now we have trialled discing just a few fields earlier than spring barley to assist break the two.5cm cap, because the disc drill doesn’t truthful properly drilling into concrete.

Time will inform if that is the long-term repair to that drawback in a spring no-till system, however I worry we may very well be creating as a lot compaction as we’re fixing, simply at a special depth.

For us, moisture is extra vital after drilling than earlier than. Fortunately, we had round 10mm post-drilling, igniting germination of our spring barley, linseed and grass seeds.

Although circumstances are nonetheless drier and colder than we want, it’s an enormous enchancment on final 12 months’s spring crop circumstances, and crops are wanting higher in consequence.

Early septoria infections from the late winter and early spring have simmered away, and there was no yellow rust to warrant a T0 fungicide.

Tissue checks have been taken, and micronutrients deficiencies addressed as our first line of defence.

Brix readings appear to be hovering round 9, indicating we’re nonetheless open to illness infections, so a reasonable SDHI has been used at T1 to make sure we retain our yield potential going into the intense yield-building section of the spring.

Over the previous few seasons, now we have capped the utmost dose of nitrogen in a single utility to 50kg/ha.

We purpose to scale back illness strain by lowering the huge quantities of nitrate flooding into the plant at anybody time.

This continues to be principle in the mean time and exhausting to quantify, however crops don’t look like struggling.

It is lowering our whole N requirement, so we can have some provides nonetheless within the shed for subsequent 12 months. Let’s hope it doesn’t compromise yield.

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