BASF Agricultural Solutions UK

Desiccation approaches

Thoughts are rapidly turning to next year for our video diarists Steve Crayston and Adrian Joynt.

Despite differing approaches both are conscious of the risk of csfb damage. While Steve is looking at longer stubbles to disguise next year’s young crop, Adrian is reviewing drilling dates and exploring companion crops.

Steve mitigates risk by keeping cost low while Adrian invests in his crops. Both approaches have worked well for the growers this year and both are looking forward to harvest.

Adrian Joynt

Our most forward crops are a week or so away from desiccation, while our most backward crops will be ready in around two and half to three weeks. It very much depends on the weather. If we get some hot and sunny conditions, conditions will change very quickly.

To desiccate, we’ll be spraying off the crops with glyphosate this year. With the OSR not having as full a canopy as ‘normal’, there are some weeds in the bottom of some the crops.

I hate predicting rape yield!

The crops are looking much better than they did two months ago. The rainfall in May came just in time and what looked like a well below average crop, is now looking much more like an average yield.

We’re already thinking about next year. We’ve taken some more land back in hand on the estate which means we’re likely to have around 130 ha rather than 100 ha of OSR.

Though varieties aren’t finalised, we’ll have a reasonable acreage of Clearfield. There are two reasons; firstly we’ve some OSR crops this year with reasonably high levels of charlock and secondly, we went quite late with an SU in the preceding wheat to control poppies and I’ve a slight concern over residues. The Clearfield varieties should overcome that.

Traditionally we’ve drilled late August to early September, next year we’re looking at bringing that forward. We did some drill date trials with ADAS this year and it’s showed our historic drilling dates now coincide with peak csfb migration. We’re reluctant to push drilling the whole OSR acreage back to mid-September as, in my opinion, it is too big a risk.

We also going to try some companion cropping this year. I’m thinking of having on block with burseem clover, another with buckwheat and a third block with a combination of the two. As well as mitigating damage from csfb, the companion crops will also, hopefully, distract the partridges we have on the farm.”

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