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Arable & Cropping Progress

Now we are into early May and at last we seem to have had a spell of drier weather allowing spring crops to get sown. Although spring barleys have been sown later than normal they have generally gone in good conditions and with some warmer weather forecast to be on the way, should soon make up for lost time. Most of the maize under plastic is now also in the ground. Winter crops have been slow to develop due to the cold March and April. Barleys are now close to ear emergence whilst some wheats are still finishing tillering while others are getting their first main fungicide and are looking good.
Those of you who use our Agronomists, Stephen, Mark and Brian, will have been getting continual help & advice to ensure that these late crops have ever chance of making the best of what is a shortened season.

Grassland continued
Grass for first cut is looking like being later, but a good spell of warmer weather in May will make the grass grow very quickly and be ready to cut by May 20/25th?
As flagged up last month there has been some activity with spraying docks, but again the cold weather and windy conditions have not made it easy to get the timing right. The next opportunity will be after first cut.

Early May is normally a good time to look at and deal with other grassland weed problems such as thistles, ragwort, sieves (rushes) etc. The colder weather means that the optimal time to address these weeds will be later in the month or even into early June. It is most important to spray the weeds at the correct time and when they are at the correct growth stage. This is where the agronomists advice is invaluable as spraying at the wrong time can be a waste of chemical and time!!

Creeping thistle is probably the biggest yield robbing problem next to docks, although it is more associated with grazing fields. Creeping thistle is a perennial that can have an extensive underground root system, taking nutrients that should be feeding the grass. Also, stock do not graze well among thistle patches, which will spread year after year if not controlled. To get them controlled properly needs a translocated herbicide like Dow’s Thistlex, which will also do a good job on other thistles (Spear, Burr or Scotch which are biennials) and nettles and dandelions. The ideal timing is when the thistle is rosette sized or less than 8ins across, but before the flower stalk starts to appear. Thistlex will give the best ratio of cost verses effectiveness, however MCPA & 2-4D will do a reasonable job for less cost but will have no effect on the root activity. These older ‘hormone’ based chemicals can be quite good for the biennial thistle types which have a large leaf area but smaller roots. Later in the season when thistles are going to seed consider topping them, then spraying the regrowth 2-3 weeks later. Again ask our Agronomists for the best advice.

For Sieves or Rushes we can use a MCPA or a MCPA/2-4D mixture and apply this to fresh growth. Normally big over seasoned clumps should be topped and the regrowth sprayed six weeks later. A wetting agent should always be added to get coverage on the waxy leaves.

Ragwort is another problem mainly on grazing ground and drier soil types. It is a poisonous weed which the landowner has a legal obligation to control . Normally a biennial but can be perennial if topped or prevented from flowering. Best sprayed at the rosette stage in May/early June but again before the flower stalk rises. Most stock will avoid eating this plant, however after spraying it may be more palatable, so keep stock off it for 14 days or until the plants is completely dead. There are various herbicides to use depending on what other weeds need control at the same time – again give us a call and our agronomists can advise what to use in your situation..
Lastly, don’t forget weed control in new reseeds. Weeds especially chickweed & seedling docks should be controlled to ensure that the seeds can get the best establishment and that will mean that the sward will be at its best for its all of its life!

Joining Aspatria Farmers

We always welcome new farmer members and as well as talking to our team please feel free to complete the attached New Members Form and mail it to us with your cheque and we will handle it from there!

Aspatria Farmers | aspatriafarmers.co.uk
Station Works, Aspatria, Cumbria, CA7 3JW
info@aspatriafarmers.co.uk | 01697 320207 | Copyright 2018 Aspatria Farmers Ltd.