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EMMA FOOT | November Recap

Emma Foot's December Farm Update

Well what another wet month it’s been, this weather is just unbelievable. We’ve had half our annual rainfall since September already.

Well we’ve managed to get on with some drilling; this is our neigbours drill below which we borrowed, as our drill (Horsch Pronto) just bunged up with the soil conditions as they are. We also borrowed a tractor from our local dealers as unfortunately our Fendt 828 (280 hp) had been put on the dyno and a value came off and messed up the whole engine so needed a new one which took four weeks, but fortunately the dealer let us use their demonstrator 724 (240hp) so we did have use of the tractor and was able to get on with drilling although the conditions weren’t great, it was still quite marginal. We managed to get most of the winter crops drilled, there’s one particular field that was very wet so we didn’t even attempt to drill that as the seeds would probably just rot in the ground.

Farm machinery at work

We had our ACCS inspection a few weeks ago and we had one advisory, which was to get a PA6 qualification (Knapsack sprayer). Darren who works for us has a PA6 so I assumed this would be ok in the inspection, but little did I know it wasn’t, as Darren isn’t Nroso registered the PA6 is invalid for ACCS or red tractor. With Nroso you need to collect 10 CPD (continuing professional development) points a year, as I’m already Nroso registered and need to collect my points each year to obtain my boom sprayer and slug pelleting legal requirements it made sense for myself to complete the PA6, I attended a 1 day training course at our neighbours farm and a 1.5 hour test the next day, answering questions about the sprayer and about product labels then I had to calibrate the sprayer and use up my water mix in the required area and use it up in the area calculated to ensure I had calibrated it correctly,  and thankfully I passed.

Emma Foot working on the farm

I’ve been putting on slug pellets as the wheat that was planted has started to get hollowed out by the slugs, I have kept checking and I dug along a drill row and found loads of slugs underneath, I’ve never known slugs so bad, unfortunately metaldehyde has sold out as its due to be banned next year in our country, so there is an alternative (Ferric phosphate) but are a lot more expensive and not as effective.

Below is a picture of the hollowed out wheat seed.

Wheat seed

Below shows the only field of oilseed rape that didn’t get cleared by flea beetle within weeks. I personally think this looks like it could be a crop, but our agronomist came out and discovered that 3 out of 4 plants had the flea beetle larvae in which will eat the plant from the inside out in the spring, our agronomist has advised to spray the crop off and put into in wheat or spray it off in the spring and put a spring crop in.  He suggested that with the issue of the flea beetle there is no point spending any more money on the crop for fertiliser and chemicals. I’m not sure if I’ve introduced Poppy or not, but she is Dads dog and is one of the farms guard dogs, her and Bill are best of friends (although Bill is the boss and Poppy wont ever tell him off).

Poppy the dog

Jack grows maize for various dairy farms and a local bio digester, maize typically grows better on heavier ground, so this year has not been ideal for maize harvesting, most the maize was foraged but unfortunately weeks were passing and rainfall was increasing, it was just too wet to get on some of it. As the weeks passed the maize became more mature, and it was too far-gone to forage. Thankfully Jack has a combine with tracks and a maize header so they were able to combine some when they had a dry spell a couple of weeks ago, and it was crimped which breaks the grain up for the cows to digest, and then stored in a silage clamp which saves so much concentrate feed being required.

Harvest tractor

Jack and I are members of the Wool and Bere Regis discussion club, and each year they have various competitions on crops and livestock and silage, there are various judges that come round and judge the various categories throughout the year and the discussion club dinner is where we get the find out the results after a 3 course meal held at Athlehampton House ( a near by stately home). Jack got 1st prize for the best maize crop, and I got 2nd for winter barley, and third for oats.

Jack and Emma Foot


I still cant believe that we are in December now- I’m not feeling it yet this year as normally we can relax a bit knowing our corn is drilled and up and usually sprayed for disease control, but half of it isn’t even up yet and some is still in seed bags.


Thank you for taking the time to have a read.

Emma x


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