Saturday, March 28, 2020

‘Perfect mix’ results in competition win

February 28, 2020 by  
Filed under Crops

A mix of cultural and chemical control methods to combat blackgrass helped Leicestershire farmers Chris and Harvey Marshall win a regional growers competition.

The farm at Countesthorpe has made significant progress in blackgrass management in recent years – using cover cropping, direct drilling, biofumigant mustards and targeted chemistry to achieve a clean wheat crop.

Competition

Looking after the soil and drilling direct helped limit the amount of blackgrass seed returned. But chemical weed control is important too. The mix saw the farm win the winter wheat category of a recent regional NFU growers’ competition – and come second in the winter beans category.

“You could say it was a competition of ‘good looks’,” says Chris. “Yield potential is also taken into consideration, but it’s mostly about how effectively we’ve managed and maintained our crops in terms of health, and of course quality, ready for harvest.

“As with many arable farms in our region, the main challenge has been overcoming blackgrass and controlling weeds. But by working with our agronomist Ollie Johnson, and his superior eye for detail, we’ve been able to achieve a healthy, resilient crop of both winter wheat and beans.”

Recommendations

Among his fungicide recommendations, Mr Johnson selected a protectant multi-site fungicide at T0 for an economical approach to septoria control, followed by prothioconazole with an SDHI to protect stem bases against eye spot damage at T1.

To support yield contribution at T2, epoxiconazole with an SDHI and a strobilurin were used to suppress rusts and foliar diseases, whilst generating greening effect by lengthening the period of photosynthesis.

As a tidy-up spray at T3, prochloraz was used with tebucon-azole as a cost-effective approach to ear disease control, protecting grain quality and marketable value, adds Mr Johnson, who is Agrovista agronomist for Leicestershire and Warwickshire.

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