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By Propwash

Probably a stupid question: Doesn't the amount of stones across your field cause any problems when it's time for harvest? Don't they all get thrown about by your machinery?

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By PeteSpencer
Our farmer's land which abuts our strip contains a large number of flints, a good proportion of which get flung onto our strip by his machinery.

We need eagle eyes before operating our triple gang mowers.....

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By TheFarmer
Well, it’s mid-winter and the crop is pretty much motionless at the moment.

There aren’t really any pests or diseases that it’s at risk from at this time of year, and the frosty weather doesn’t harm it at all. It actually helps kill off aphids that can transmit a damaging virus into the crop, so the cold weather is welcome.

Autumn planted cereals actually require a prolonged cold snap to ‘vernalise’, and without it they won’t produce a satisfactory ear of grain in the following summer. Spring planted crops obviously don’t need this.


You can see below that most plants have produced three ‘tillers’, and these will increase in the spring. Each tiller will give off its own ears, and thinner crops tend to self-compensate and produce more (into the available space) and thicker crops don’t. The weaker of the tillers are sometimes sacrificed by the plant in times of high stress later in the season, with drought being a common reason for this.


At this time of year we need to make sure that the potash and phosphate levels are good to ensure good root growth in the Spring, and healthy cell walls in the plant. Good levels of P & K also provide an element of drought resistance too; something that’s become important in recent years.

P&K comes either in mined granular form in a tonne bag (applied at around 250-500 kgs/ha) or in organic form such as heat-treated chicken muck etc. Now the crop is established we are slightly more limited as to what we can apply as the machines need to be able to throw it accurately across the width of the tramlines. Summer-applied PK in organic form can be in many different forms, and as basic as cattle muck/slurry etc.


We walk the crops this time of year to asses the volumes and types of weeds they contain to plan a selective herbicide programme for the Spring, and we map the weeds in software on tablets as we walk. This allows it to only treat the bad areas, which saves money and avoids blanket applications of herbicides.

I’m starting to plan getting the infrastructure ready for Spring now. Making sure all the fertiliser grades I need are in stock, and in the most efficient barns for application, and getting machines checked over and serviced to ensure they don’t let me down when I need them to be ready for action.

Five loads of last summer’s oats were loaded out this morning (150 tonnes) and these went for breakfast cereal. I sold them at £174 per tonne two months ago. They’re now worth over £200 had I sold them today! That’s the way the market goes. That’s £3,900 lost purely on a market shift. My break even price was £103.

Anyway, I’ll update more as and when the crop wakes up in mid Feb. Until then, it’ll be quiet again, but there will be weekly activity by mid March, right through to harvest.

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By TheFarmer
I’ve just looked on page one of this thread and saw the grain prices I posted on September 14th.


Look at them now!!


Wheat delivered in January 2021 has gone from £177 to £202!!

To put it in perspective, I produce 2,200 tonnes of wheat alone each year. That’s a £55,000 shift in revenue for that particular crop, just because of market shifts, over which I have zero control.

You can see how important a robust selling strategy is!

(Don’t ask me when I sold mine.....) :roll:
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By Pete L
How do you measure how much fertiliser it needs - soil core?

Back to stones - when we bought some Bobbington wine from the Halfpenny Green Wings and Wheels, apparently the reason the vineyard survives so far North is the local rock keeping it warm.
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By TheFarmer
For P and K, it’s a simple soil test, by taking it from about 6 inches down.

For nitrogen (the fast acting spring growth food), it’s less easy to measure, so is generally based on previous crop, soil type, date, and what crop is being grown.
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By Pete L
Just shows how much land is needed to support a farming family now.

Our paddocks still show the pre-enclosure ridge-and-furrow and our side of the village is still 40-acre grazing fields with the enclosure hedges.

The other side is more industrial farming - all Rothschild. Buckinghamshire was snapped up for a song after the post-Napoleonic depression with the proceeds from bankrolling both sides.

History I guess is now repeating itself with absentee landlords farming large tracts with contractors - do the East Anglian barley barons still exist?
By Bill McCarthy
Our ground has been in permafrost for about two weeks now - lots of dung spreading going on. The sheep scanner is coming tomorrow to record in-lamb ewes. I’ll just be getting them housed and will let him get on with it under the current rules.
Bill McCarthy wrote:Our ground has been in permafrost for about two weeks now - lots of dung spreading going on.

Is that because you can't bury it?

Bill McCarthy wrote:The sheep scanner is coming tomorrow to record in-lamb ewes.

Are those ram underside markers using barcodes now?
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By Bill McCarthy
Mrs McC and I have eaten our way through a chest freezerfull of grub - the freezer has now gone to the end of my road for pick up and recycling. No more bliddy chest freezers - a waste of energy, and food from it never quite as good as fresh. Plenty of spuds and neeps in the clamp and the carrots are still good from the garden. Butcher and fishmonger will deliver from now on.
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By PeteSpencer
Fascinating stuff I thought farmers just shoved seeds in the soil then nine months later harvested the crop and dropped into the bank on the way home to deposit the cheque . :lol:

Rest of the year they flew aeroplanes for fun and shot pheasants :roll:

edit sp.
Last edited by PeteSpencer on Fri Jan 08, 2021 7:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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