Farmer Focus: Spring barley takes a battering by crows

Just when the oilseed rape is lastly rising too massive for the pigeons we drilled some spring barley, which is now being systematically labored over by crows.

We all the time had a few incidents with crows on the chalk and so they by no means made any distinction, however not too long ago after we develop this crop on sand they actually appear to get caught in.

See additionally: What AHDB Cereals and Oilseeds spends its levy money on

About the writer

Andy Barr

Andy Barr farms 700ha in a household partnership in Kent. Combinable crops quantity to about 400ha and embody milling wheat and malting barley in an more and more assorted rotation. He additionally grazes 800 Romney ewes and 40 Sussex cattle and the farm makes use of conservation agriculture strategies.

Unfortunately, the seed rows are extra simply discerned by the crows after we direct-drill, however to assist put them off I’ve not too long ago taken supply of some useless crows… from Amazon, after all.

They are literally manufactured from plastic and a velvety cloth and so they look fairly reasonable.

Prior to planting the barley, we tried out a Horsch Cultro curler crimper on totally different mixes of previous cowl crops.

To be trustworthy, we didn’t get covers sufficiently big this yr, and little question that might have helped when utilizing mechanical destruction.

We have discovered sufficient to know that the likes of well-grown radish, linseed, phacelia and beans might doubtlessly be managed properly, whereas cereals and grasses (until, maybe, they’re way more mature than we often have them) in all probability wouldn’t be.

I’m positive a frost would assist, however some years we don’t get many of those in balmy Kent and, fairly frankly, I don’t like getting up at cow milking time.

I discover it tough to not point out the farming equal of the elephant within the room – 10 baggage of nitrogen fertiliser.

I’ve had a variety of service provider emails strongly suggesting that I actually should take some cowl for subsequent yr quickly, which sounds marvellous, other than two tiny issues – I’ve to pay for it now and never get my a reimbursement for 2 years. And secondly, the place on earth do I put it?

Perhaps farm minister George Eustice will ponder the very fact the United States Department of Agriculture is making obtainable US$250m (£190m) “to support independent, innovative and sustainable American fertiliser production to supply American farmers”.

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