Get your fertiliser strategy correct to make a solid profit
Published 22/02/2012 | 06:00
The sight of lime dumped in gateways is another sign that the growing season is about to take off, and it won't be long until the first fertiliser spreaders take to the fields.
A minority of dairy farmers in the northeast have released cows from the confines of the winter quarters for some daytime grazing, all signs of the favourable ground conditions.
Tillage farmers are ploughing away, with drilling of wheat and beans being considered.
The perennial question as to whether to drill a winter or spring wheat variety at this time is a topic of conversation.
My experience is that after mid-February, a spring variety is preferable to drill, with similar yield potential to the winter varieties but with an earlier harvest date and possible milling potential. Late harvests have resulted in delayed drilling and subsequent establishment problems for some of my growers over the past few seasons and should be avoided if at all possible.
Sprayers are on the move tidying up weed control mainly on winter wheat crops. Weed size is critical if applying the traditional winter cereal programmes based around IPU, DFF and pendimethalin herbicides.
The excellent growing conditions are good for the weeds and the crop, and the problem weeds -- cleavers, meadowgrass, speedwells, fumitory and pansies -- are generally at advanced growth stages which are difficult to control.
There are plenty of product choices to deal with these weeds now or later on. However, early control is important with cleavers in particular.