The joys of farming on gravel.

Luckily we only have 20 ha out of 270 ha of wheat this year that’s on gravel and looks like this in places!

Whilst literally a few metres away it is growing nicely.

For the overall picture, this is what happens on gravel as it runs out of moisture.

It’s not as if we haven’t had any rain, with 37mm in May and 200mm so far this year. The problem is that it’s just not enough. I realise further east in the UK the situation is much worse and lack of moisture is much more of a problem in other parts of the world. I just wanted to use this to ponder my ear wash strategy for this block of milling wheat. The last picture is pretty extreme and shows that there is water further down and that only a slight change in the soil makes a massive difference. There are quite large areas that have a worthwhile crop. So, what should I do now it’s flowering and the weather is unsettled with enough moisture and humidity to cause fusarium? I am contemplating trying a variable application of the ear wash using the following map.

Should I variably apply less fungicide to the dying areas of the crop or none at all, whilst applying a normal dose to the better areas shown in green? However, if I do this not only will I get shrivelled grain at harvest but could also get mycotoxins and fusarium ruining the whole sample. I thought technology was the answer but we still end up going with gut feeling, trial and error.

So on balance, as the T3 does not give much in yield most years and the variety Zyatt does not warrant a disease top up, it will be an overall dose to protect quality. It does then highlight the dilemma that just because you can do something, you don’t necessarily¬† have to.


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