Focus on farmers: can agricultural networks reach decision-makers?


We have had a pleasant fall by recent standards which is welcome after a harvest which turned out to be quite difficult work.

The dry conditions prompted more winter wheat to be planted, although the rest of mine is planted in the spring, for many positive agronomic reasons. Unfortunately, ergot is not one of them.

There is no doubt that my planting earlier last year increased the number of vulpines again, but hopefully the timing of mid-October this fall can put us back in the right direction.

About the Author

Andy Barr

Andy Barr operates 700 ha in a family partnership in Kent. The combinable crops cover approximately 400 ha and include milling wheat and malting barley in an increasingly varied rotation. He also grazes 800 Romney ewes and 40 Sussex cattle and the farm uses conservation farming methods.

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There is also work from the AHDB showing that we can indeed acquire full resistance to septoria by planting later, and it is encouraging to see that the recommended list focuses more on the ability of farmers to adopt management measures. integrated pest.

This theme was also highlighted during a recent AHDB webinar that I watched on flower bands in the field.

I have some on the farm as an experiment – they are a few years old now and are slowly improving – so I was eager to hear proof that I was doing the right thing.

Frustratingly, it was pointed out that it is extremely difficult to get solid evidence from your own farm as a huge amount of monitoring would be required. But it’s good to hear that broader research supports their use.

I also picked up some great handy tips, like flail mowing on a gel to spray them completely, and avoiding rotting mats that hinder their growth.

Another tip that I should have used more, in hindsight, was multiple beds of stale seed before sowing to reduce problem weeds.

Farmer-to-farmer discussions like these are very helpful.

However, there are a myriad of groups that operate under the internet’s radar, so I was encouraged to hear the UK Farmer Focus Group Network recently at a meeting of our little local ‘crazy’ group. regenerative.

It would be great if this common network could really listen to those who make agricultural policies.



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