July 2021 Update from Castleton Farm

As summer has arrived, so has peak season for Ross and his berries. However, on the arable side of the farm things have been a little quieter. Below are several observations from 21st July 2021.

A close range photo of the winter wheat at Castleton farm. It is yet to ripen and is still green; in the background in soft focus is a large wind turbine.

Winter wheat at Castleton

Lupins following cover crops

Ross has tried growing Lupins this year following a cover crop. However, herbicide use in lupins is very limited making it impossible to remove broadleaved weeds in leguminous crops. This has resulted in many volunteer oil radish plants establishing within the lupin crop. In future years, Ross plans to only grow cereal based cover crops prior to legumes to allow for the use of a graminicide such as Fusilade Max. Avoiding broadleaved cover crops in this situation should help to grow successful legumes subsequently, while still gaining the winter soil cover provided by cover crops.

A crop of lupins growing at Castleton. The photo is looking down on the crop and the leaves appear to be long and thin in a star shaped pattern with the hint of some blue flowers remaining and some seed pods from previous flowers visible.

Lupins at Castleton

Bean (re) establishment

A bean plant with a white powder-like substance on the leaves indicating that some spray residue may have been left on the plants.

Ross established winter beans in 2020, however the beans were late sown and a combination of the hard winter of 2020/2021 and damage from crows resulted in crop failure. However, Ross established spring beans into what was left of the winter beans which have been a success so far. The spring beans have developed well and have had two applications of Thiovit (5kg/ha), a sulphur-based nutrient spray and two fungicides. Some bean pods have developed low down on the plants which may make combining difficult if the beans do not extend up any further.

Spot treatment of barren brome

Barren brome is a grass weed synonymous with minimum tillage systems. It is often found on headlands and colonises quickly in bare ground. Brome is becoming more common in Scotland and Ross has noticed an odd patch of brome on his farm. He decided to spot treat these areas with Glyphosate to prevent the weed becoming a problem in future crops. Although this seems like a drastic measure, addressing this weed before it becomes a large problem is a great way to manage this challenge.

Second wheat following the stripper header

Wheat following wheat which was harvested using the stripper header.

Following on from the stripper header trial in 2020, very little straw residue can be found still standing in this year’s crops. Some straw is still visible on the soil surface but most of the straw has broken down. Ross is impressed with the stripper header, however, there is a 12-month waiting list for purchasing this implement.









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