Wet wet wet

14 January 2014

A Happy New Year to all of you. May it firstly be a healthy one and secondly a good, prosperous farming one.

Across the whole of the region the weather is the talking point. While well up on average, better wet now than in August! My perception is that generally, crops are sticking it pretty well. The exceptions are some of the less well-established, later drilled, crops. The ground is now full! And run-off susceptible soils are starting to show some tell-tale signs. But hopefully the weather will balance out and dry a bit now. It won’t be too soon before spring drillers start ‘champing at the bit’.

Spring drilling is virtually upon us. Hopefully you will have reviewed the new Recommended Lists. On the Spring Barley selection, NFC -Tipple Concerto and Propino will no doubt remain regulars for malting along with the relative newcomers Sanette, Odyssey and Overture which have provisional approval. New varieties under test to compete in the future are KWS Irina, KWS Aurelia, Shaloo and Hacker which were added to the AHDB Recommended List this year. Optic has now been rated as no longer approved for brewing by IBD, but remains approved for malt distilling.


On the feed front, new on the List this year is the spring barley feed variety Shada. It is a high yielding variety  which tops the table for treated and untreated yield and is stiff strawed, resistant to brackling but late maturing.  It has good resistance to mildew, brown rust and ramularia, but watch for rhynchosporium.

If you are considering feed spring wheat, KWS Kilburn is new to the list, achieving the highest spring-sown fungicide treated yield and with good resistance to brown rust.

The full Lists are online.

The high level interest in becoming an AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds Monitor Farm has created pleasant but more challenging logistics than we had envisaged. My time since Christmas has been spent visiting prospective farms and the selection process will be on-going this month and into February.

Happily this year we have more AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds Events in the South Region than we have been used to so far. There are the ‘Markets and Varieties’ conferences at Wellesbourne, Warwickshire and Callington, Cornwall, on 29 January and 6 February respectively. Then Agronomy Conferences on 18 and 19 February at Winchester and Gloucester. Beyond that there’s also a Business Management Workshop at Taunton on 5 March.

Most of all I am looking forward to Farmhouse Breakfast Week at the end of this month and joining my local Primary School children at their Breakfast Club to extol the virtues of arable farmers and farming, and to show them how their cereal ends up on their plate!

As ever, full details for all events are available on our website.



Taunton-based Philip joined AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds from HSBC Agriculture, where he was Senior Agriculture Manager in the South West region. Having studied agriculture at university, Philip spent seven years as a Senior Business Management Consultant with ADAS before developing his career with HSBC. He brings substantial business management experience to the Regional Team, and a detailed understanding of the complexities of the industry in the region.