Can you believe it, it’s that time of year again but of course this year is a little different as it hasn’t stopped raining for weeks on end. This fact alone has made the autumn season almost impossible (totally impossible in places) and we need to look at what we can do when we can travel as the soil is going to be in an unusual state. We need to accept that the consistent pouring down has had a sever cleaning effect on the soil. The indices won’t have changed but the plant-available nutrient levels could be very low indeed, especially Boron which is always low anyway. With this in mind, we will need a plan in place plus the times over the field that we have missed in the autumn will be needed in the spring as we play catch up. By this I mean that we may need 2-3 quick passes to get the necessary nutrients and life into the soil. In late winter/early spring there could also be a slow start for the microbial life which in turn relates to a slow start for available nutrients. Where ploughing has once again reared it’s head much valuable CO2 will have been released from the soil so this needs to be taken into account as we start. If you are in a trials state of mind at the start of next season (no chance of course) you could test several areas with pure Humic acid (AF Humique) at 3l/ha to wake up and multiply the soil biology and therefore speed up the effects of spring.
NB. For those without a Black Grass problem, it will be very interesting to see how not applying fungicides and herbicides effects the crop.
So, where do we start?
Let’s have a quick scoot through the successes from this year.
1) It is starting to look like untreated seed far outperforms seed that has an un-warranted fungicide placed on it. I find it amazing that people find this surprising because we know that the new radicle and root formation do not recognise toxic chemicals as something they expect to see there. What they do expect to see is bacteria and nutrients in very small amounts. Even yesterday I saw fantastic roots on winter wheat that had had no chemicals and had been treated at drilling with microbiology, a humate and Silicon. The same is true of the leaf of course which is why many farmers will be trying to grow a crop without any chemical intervention.
2) Following this line of thought the plants come up in a healthier way so hopefully, we will not have to continue a toxic chemical program throughout the season. This year we saw fantastic results from spraying microbiology and Orange Oil (augmented with Silicon) so this will be further increased in the coming season and this should also increase uptake of the much-needed nutrients.
3) On farms that are well into a no-till system we have seen the soils stand up to the drenching very well with worm activity at what can only be described as frantic levels which is superb. On ploughed and bare soils it is difficult to find a worm….
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