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Attention to detail results in competition win

14/01/2020

A Keen eye for detail is what competition-winning Leicestershire farmers, Chris and Harvey Marshall, believe is the secret to their recent success.

Not only did they win the winter wheat category of a regional NFU growers’ competition recently, but they also came second in the winter beans category.

Chris, from the farm in Countesthorpe, said: “Two 25-acre fields, one wheat and one beans, were assessed by the NFU before harvest, looking at aesthetic factors such as weed and disease control and canopy management. You could say it was a competition of ‘good looks’. 

“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.

“I was really pleased with what we had achieved and knew they had winning potential, so decided to enter the competition and was successful!”

Adopting both cultural and chemical control methods has meant that the farm has made significant progress in blackgrass management. This effective combination includes cover cropping, direct drilling, biofumigant mustards and targeted chemistry, resulting in the winning clean wheat crop.

Amongst his fungicide recommendations, Ollie 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 tebuconazole as a cost-effective approach to ear disease control, protecting grain quality and marketable value.

Agrovista Agronomist for Leicestershire and Warwickshire, Ollie Johnson, said: “Attention to detail is a key factor in the success of growing any crop, especially wheat. Making frequent observations, selecting the right product, and applying it in a timely fashion are all important because fungicides can often be applied too early or too late, reducing their efficacy.

“I have great confidence in Chris and Harvey, who show due diligence with the timing of applications. By making frequent visits and having regular discussions we plan our way through the season with a proactive rather than reactive approach.  

“Discussion and debate are vital parts of giving advice, and I’m delighted our partnership has resulted in this competition win for the farm.”

 

Ollie Johnson (L) and Harvey Marshall (R)

14/01/2020

Attention to detail results in competition win

A keen eye for detail is what competition-winning Leicestershire farmers, Chris and Harvey Marshall, believe is the secret to their recent success.

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