Friday, 27 April 2012

Molson Coors Growers Group Spring Meeting

On Tuesday we were excellently hosted for our first Molson Coors Growers Group spring agronomy meeting by Richard Tongue at Priory Farm Hazelton up in the Cotswolds.  We met up in the yard and had a brief summary of the evening by James Cox and then it was off to the field to look at some spring barley at about the 3-4 leaf stage. Richard was one of the runners up in last years MCGG internal barley competition so we were interested to learn about any new techniques he was employing.  It is the real beauty of being involved in a group like this, ideas are forthcoming and we can have a really good discussion about the crops and how we grow them.
We talked about cultivations as some of the fields are in overwinter stubble options (like us) and seed rates, seed dressings and fertiliser timings and rates.  Richard has just bought a new drill and was placing nitrogen down the spout with the seed which was interesting and logical.  John Vickery (Agrii Agronomist) was there to talk about herbicides and fungicide strategies for the coming few months, depending on the weather over the coming months.  There was some discussion about BYDV (Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus) and the areas affected after last years warm autumn and how these patches are very similar to Rhizoctonia solani (a soil born fungus).
After we had exhausted the conversations in the field, and it was getting colder, we headed off to the local pub for a pie and a pint which went down very well.  How many beer drinkers know how much effort and dedication goes into this stage of the brewing process?  The nitrogen levels we apply will have a massive effect of the quality of the grain and its suitablility for malting, let alone the effect that the weather has, which is obviously out of our control, perfectly demonstrated this spring!

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