By Peter Lundgren, The Farmer
I’ve been busy in the field of wheat during the last couple of weeks. It’s the time of year when the ground starts to warm up, starts to dry enough for machinery to enter the field and the plants start to develop quickly after the slow winter growth.
Fertiliser has been applied – 50 units of Nitrogen as the collective decided along with a 100m strip without any fertilizer. The field has also been rolled with a set of cambridge rolls. These rolls consolidate the soil after the frost has ‘heaved’ the soil during the winter allowing for a firm anchor for the roots as the plants starts to grow taller; and also consolidating the soil improves the root to soil contact helping the roots take up vital nutrients from the soil.
Also I’ve applied the first application of a foliar feed to the crop of wheat – the second application will be later in the growing cycle. This is an experiment for me and comes from suggestions made by the collective during the discussion on nitrogen rates. As you know I’m a bit concerned that lower nitrogen rates will affect the marketability of the harvested grain so I’m trying a foliar feed to supplement the nitrogen and provide micronutrients in the hope that this will boost grain size and weight. The product that I’ve settled on is produced by Bionature UK and called Tip Top www.bionatureagriculture.com. Tip Top has been part of the regime that helped a Lincolnshire grower break two world records last year (but, before you get too excited, we won’t be breaking world records!) and should help with ensuring the crop is healthy and able to make best use of the available sunlight and water.
Tip Top looks like a the sort of green goo you might find in an abandoned swimming pool and I really don’t know what I think at this time! Part of me can see the logic that supports the argument for foliar feeds; and part of me thinks that I’m being taken in by some sort of alchemist – albeit a very credible alchemist. I guess time will tell.